Feeding/Eating Habits for Children

Eating

  • Children should receive a balanced diet daily to help support proper tooth development.
    • This balanced diet includes:
      • Food from the major food groups.
      • Limiting consumption of sugar/starch foods.
      • Limiting between meal drinking and snacking.
  • Children should be encouraged to have breakfast to avoid increased snacking between meals during the day.
    • Risk of cavities increases when sugar is consumed between meals.
    • Snacks have the highest sugar content of any meal.
  • Avoid foods and beverages high in acidic content. They weaken tooth structure and lead to increased cavities.
    • For example: diet sodas, flavored waters, fruit juices, and sports drinks.
  • Offer milk or fruit juices only at mealtimes.
    • Saliva production is increased during a meal and helps to neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.
    • Between mealtimes, offer your child water to drink.

Nursing to Sippy Cups

  • At will nighttime breast-feeding should be avoided once eruption of first tooth begins.
  • To avoid the development of “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay,” children should not be put to bed with a bottle.
    • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
      • Prolonged exposure of a baby’s teeth to liquids containing sugar such as milk, formula and fruit juice, can cause severe cavities. 
      • If child must have a bottle at night, it should only contain water.
  • Children should be encouraged to drink from a cup by their 1st birthday.
  • Do not let your child constantly sip liquids containing sugar, including milk and juice drinks.
    • Training Cups
      • The best training (or sippy) cup for your child is one without a valve.
      • Cups with valves do not allow your child to sip and continue a sucking behavior.
      • Useful training cups will have a snap-on or screw-on lid with a spout.