While eating too much sweets can cause caries and cavities, did you know that lots of other foods can actually strengthen your little one’s teeth?

Here is a list of the top foods that help oral health.

Oranges, Limes, Kiwis, Berries. Your child’s mouth is full of various types of bacteria and some of them may even cause gum disease such as gingivitis. Vitamin C in fruits such as cantaloupe, orange, limes, strawberries and papaya helps fight bacteria and promote the production of collagens in the gums. Other natural sources of Vitamin C are vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and red, orange and yellow peppers. But dentists advise that children must wait at least 30 minutes after eating citrusy foods before cleaning their teeth. It is due to the citric acid present in fruits which can temporarily weaken the enamel. This can leave the teeth susceptible to erosion due to brushing.

Seeds and nuts. Sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and nuts are rich in natural fats that help shield the teeth from bacteria by coating the teeth with its oil. The seed oils help strengthen the enamel too, making teeth more resilient to cavities. In addition, most seeds are packed with calcium too. Children ages 4 and above can eat trail mix as a healthy snack.

Sugarless gum. Chewing any food triggers the production of saliva. Saliva loosens plaque, keeps the gums hydrated and stimulates natural antibodies in the mouth. According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent decay. In fact, the organization recently awarded Extra, Orbit and Eclipse gums their Seal of Acceptance after Wrigley did studies showing its brand’s dental health benefits. But kids below the age 4 shouldn’t chew gum, unless you can trust them never to swallow it.

Dairy products. Starchy carbohydrates such as white potatoes, paste and bread are metabolised into sugar. Such form of sugar feeds certain bacteria in your kid’s mouth, producing acid that causes caries. When kids drink milk or eats cheese or yogurt, foods that rich in Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, it increases the pH level of their mouth, which lowers the acid levels as well as the risk for developing tooth caries. Calcium is also great in other ways. Calcium bonds with plaque and to the teeth, which further protects the teeth from lingering acid. It also strengths the bones that support your child’s teeth and repairs damaged enamel, making their teeth more resistant to any periodontal diseases in the future.

Crisp vegetables. Celery, green beans, snap peas, cauliflower and raw carrots are ‘chewing foods’, which means it can mechanically clean your child’s gums and teeth. These foods scrape away plaque that children miss when brushing or that accumulates between meals. Tell your children to chew their food and eat slowly.