Diet and Dental Caries in Children

There is a strong link between what you eat and the cavities in your  mouth. As a parent you must actively involve yourself in ensuring that the dental health of your child is not deteriorating because of your child's dietary habits.

Rory Coen
Men's HealthWritten by: Rory CoenPublished at: Apr 04, 2018
Diet and Dental Caries in Children

Teeth and brush When discussing dental carries – with respect to a child’s diet – you need to distinguish between the truly nutritional effects on the formation and make-up of good, healthy teeth, and the environmental effects – i.e. the metabolic behaviour of the bacteria on the surface of the teeth – from these dietary components. This piece will discuss diet and dental carries in children.

Dental carries – known better as tooth decay or simply a cavity – is a dental disease where bacteria breaks down and erodes the hard tooth structure and forms holes or cavities in the teeth, which can be very painful. This can happen in children – at an early age – if their diet isn’t regulated to avoid a disease like this. They also need to take further preventive measures to stop the bacteria.

Calcium Rich Foods


  • Ensure that you children eat a healthy diet, first and foremost. Calcium enriched food type are great for strong teeth, so try to incorporate as many of these into their diet as possible. Milk and cheese – all dairy products really – are children’s favourites and are full of calcium.
  • Reduce their sugar intake, as this increases the acidic level in the mouth which is the main cause of dental caries in children. The acid in the mouth goes to work corroding the enamel of your children’s teeth for a good half hour after they have consumed these sugary substances.
  • Children have a natural fondness for sweets, so it’s very difficult to stop them. Try to convince them to chew sugar-free gum afterwards. This gum increases the amount of saliva in the mouth which has natural properties to eradicate bacteria in the mouth.

Chew Sugar-free Gum

Children need to snack every few hours between meals to keep alert, so it’s important that these snacks are healthy and nutritious, and are void of any sugary, acidic substances.


Sweets, such as toffee and honey, tend to stick to teeth for extended periods as well, so this kind of scenario really promotes dental carries in children. Whilst children might brush their teeth after their breakfast and before they go to bed – as they are generally at home – it’s not always practical to brush their teeth after a midday meal or snack. So they should carry some sugar free gum with them to chew straight after these snacks.