(NewsUSA) - You probably know that sweets and soda are bad for your children's teeth, but have you stopped to think about what foods are good for their teeth?
Some foods support tooth and gum health. Keep these foods in mind the next time you pack your children's lunches:
* Look for vegetables high in vitamin A. Veggies like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots are high in vitamin A, which is important in the formation of tooth enamel. Try packing baby carrots in children's lunchboxes or making homemade, baked sweet potato fries.
* Say "cheese." Cheese helps balance the pH in the mouth, making it less friendly for destructive bacteria. It also contains calcium. Just be sure to watch portion sizes, as cheese is high in fat and salt. An appropriate serving of natural cheese, like cheddar, is the size of two domino pieces.
* Snack on fruit. You may know that vitamin C is good for your skin, but did you know that it's also good for your gums? Healthy gums help support teeth, so make sure your children get enough vitamin C. For their size, kiwis have more vitamin C than any other fruit. If green things are a tough sell, try apple slices, strawberries or orange wedges.
Don't Forget Good Oral Hygiene
Remember that there is no substitute for good oral hygiene. Make sure your children brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Teach them to drink water after eating, as it will help flush food from their mouth.
Of course, children aren't always the most diligent brushers and flossers. Some parents give their children an oral care probiotic, such as EvoraKids (www.myevorakids.com), to help pick up any slack in kids' oral care habits. Oral care probiotics work by flooding the mouth with good bacteria, which adhere to tooth surfaces, including crevices, pits and fissures in the chewing surfaces, leaving less room for bad bacteria to grow. The probiotics effectively compete with certain harmful bacteria for both nutrients and space on teeth surfaces, reaching where brushing and flossing can't.