Getting your child to eat right is hard enough as it is, but keeping up with their dental health can be just as challenging. An unhealthy diet can increase your child’s chances of developing cavities or even gum disease, so why not try to tackle both obstacles at the same time? Here is our list of 10 foods that can help your child have healthier teeth and gums.

Apples

Even though the saying goes “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” it can still apply to destists…sort of. Although eating an apple doesn’t replace a thorough brushing of your teeth, it’s natural abrasiveness helps remove plaque and other pieces of food from your teeth. Try to throw in an apple with your child’s lunch every day so they can go back to class with a cleaner smile.

Celery

Much like apples, celery also does a good job of brushing off bacteria from your teeth. Celery is also high in water content and it requires more chewing than most foods, both promoting an increase in saliva production. Saliva naturally is a natural bacteria killer and can help get plaque off of your child’s teeth, but this one may prove harder to appeal to their appetite. We recommend trying to put a spread on the veggie to make it easier for your child to be interested, like cream cheese or peanut butter.

Leafy Greens

Spinach is the easiest to recommend as it is the hardest to taste, but all leafy greens can promote overall positive mouth health. Things like spinach have a high calcium content, something that helps strengthen and restore the enamel of your child’s teeth. Folic acid is another part of spinach and leafy greens that works to reduce inflammation of the gums and fights off plaque and other bacteria.

Cheese

Especially hard cheeses, but all cheese is high in calcium nonetheless. The high calcium content builds up the enamel of your child’s tooth and counteracts the acidity of the mouth to help fight plaque and reduce chances of tooth decay. Harder cheeses requiring more chewing which, like celery, increases saliva production for fighting off bacteria.

Almonds

Almonds can be mixed in with just about anything and they do a great job of helping your teeth stay healthy. Calcium and phosphorous work together to build your child’s tooth strength and overall bone health.

Pumpkin Seeds

This one may be a tough sell on your child, but for the baseball moms out there we recommend trying to get your son to replace sunflower seeds with an equally tasty bag of pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are also high in phosphorous and allow the body to better absorb other important vitamins and minerals. Phosphorous supports tooth enamel and help hold your teeth in place. Around Halloween, you can also take the seeds from the insides of your Jack-o-Lanterns and bake them, making a nice addition to a meal or just a snack.

Fish

If your child likes fish, they’re in luck. Fish contains vitamin D, something they can also absorb from being in the sunlight, that helps the body’s absorption of calcium. Whether your child chooses fish or the great outdoors, make sure they are filling up on calcium.

Oranges

High in vitamin C, oranges help to build stronger blood vessels and reduce inflammation that could irritate your child’s gums. Vitamin C is also a key component of your body’s ability to produce collagen, a protein that deters periodontal disease and sensitive gums.

Berries

As like any food high in antioxidants, berries are an overall healthy choice. Antioxidants specifically help the mouth, however, as they kill bacteria that could lead to inflammation and tooth decay. Antioxidants also keep your mouth safe from cell damage and infections.

Sweet Potatoes

One of the sweeter options on our list, sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin A. Vitamin A works just like calcium and phosphorous to strengthen the enamel of your teeth. It also works to prevent a dry mouth and aids in the healing processes of the mouth.

A healthy diet alone cannot prevent tooth decay and cavities, however, so we recommend that you continue to establish good brushing habits with your child. Regular appointments with a dentist are a good time to discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s dental health.