Children’s Health – Teeth

Question: “My 9 year old son eats lots of apples, about 3 a day and I am worried about his teeth, what would be the recommended amount a day? And what less acidic fruits could he have on the go, he doesn’t like bananas?”

 

Apples are fairly harmless and fruit consumed in its whole state has many health benefits. Apples contain vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. He may have a particular type of apple he prefers, but perhaps try to avoid the sweeter varieties such as Pink Lady, Braeburn, Fuji and stick with Golden Delicious, Granny Smith or Cox’s Orange Pippin.

 

Children seem to know their own needs and will often have fads for particular foods, which you may find are short lived. Perhaps have other foods on hand for when his desires change. I know that apples, pears and bananas spring to mind for foods easy to eat on the go, but another thought would be to use something to make the food more portable, such as a Flip-Top Snack Cup (no missing lids!). This way you could chop plums, peaches or add any berries or rose hips. All of these fruits are low on the glycaemic index scale, which means that they are lower in sugar as well as releasing their sugar content more slowly.

 

Another thought would be to slowly tempt his taste buds with new flavours by trying vegetables. You could start with the sweeter ones initially to get him used to them and pop them in the Snack Cup – carrot, red pepper, yellow pepper, cucumber and progress through to more savoury tastes such as home-made kale ‘chips’ (so easy!) or spicy sweet potato ‘chips’.

 

I think you’re doing a great job if it’s only apples your son seems to be going crazy for, but if you find he starts wanting more of the sugary foods, it may be due to his gut flora being out of balance. The bacterial balance within the gut may affect the teeth and the gut flora can become compromised from birth, medications, diet. Ensuring healthy gut flora will allow for better absorption of nutrients, providing they are present in the diet to begin with!

 

There is a bacteria called mutans streptococci passed on from our mothers that lives in the mouth and it is this bacteria which builds plaque. The bacteria eat any sugars in the mouth and excrete acids, which slowly erode the tooth surface until they penetrate the enamel, forming a cavity. Once infected with this bacteria we carry it for life, but it is known that it will not attack healthy tissue; therefore it is the food we eat (and the exposure to toxic elements) that will cause tooth decay. If your son has this predisposition, then eating three apples a day isn’t going to be the cause of tooth decay. Happy crunching!

 

Useful reading: ‘Cure Tooth Decay’ by Ramiel Nagel, ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ by Weston A. Price, http://www.westonaprice.org/basics/dietary-guidelines

 

Gabi Heyes, Naturopath, Herbalist and Iridologist practicing at Natural Practices Clinic.
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 1HG health@naturalpractices.co.uk 01625 54 9000
www.naturalpractices.co.uk

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