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A healthy diet can improve the state of children's teeth.
In my investigation I will include:
- To find out how tooth decay is caused and what the main reasons
are for it.
- To put forward a questionnaire on what children mostly eat and
- Ideas on how children's tooth decay can be avoided. What
nutrients are important to teeth.
- To do some practical work on the foods rich in the nutrients
that are important to teeth.
- What nutrients are important to teeth.
- Put forward ideas of what the diets of young children should be
Tooth decay is a wearing away of the tooth enamel. The bacteria from
foods containing sugars and carbohydrates are left on the teeth, and
over a period of time they destroy the teeth enamel and this results
in tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs because each time you eat acid is
formed that can eat into your teeth. Saliva can protect against the
formation of acid, but only if it doesn't occur that often. Fluoride,
which is found in toothpaste, is the main element that strengthens and
The diagram above shows the different tooth sections. Below they are
- Dentin - The hard tissue located under the enamel of the tooth.
Dentin is harder than bone.
- Bone - This is the tissue where the root of the tooth is anchored
- Enamel - The tough, shiny, white outer surface of the tooth.
- Root - The anchor of a tooth that extends into the bone of the
- Pulp - The soft centre of the tooth. The pulp contains blood
vessels and nerves.
- Gingiva - Part of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth and
- Cementum - a specialized bony substance covering the root of a
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"Healthy Diet's Effect on Children's Teeth." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Mar 2020
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Formation of Tooth Decay
2. The dentin is porous so therefore it is eroded faster than the
overlaying enamel. Because of this a large cavity could be forming
inside the tooth without showing many visible signs.
1. After eating, food
particles and bacteria form plaque on the surface of the teeth. The
bacteria becomes an acid and begins to erode the calcium in the
tooth's enamel, this leads to a formation of a minute cavity. If this
is left untreated, the acid will eventually eat through the tooth
Tooth Decay1.jpg (10604 bytes) Tooth Decay2.GIF (9260 bytes)
3. The decay continues and bacteria come in through the porous dentin
and infect the pulp. The body launches an immune response to the
infection so the blood vessels around the tooth enlarge and press
against the nerves entering the tooth causing 'tooth ache.'
Tooth Decay3.jpg (10036 bytes)
4. If the infection proceeds and a significant amount of bacteria
invades' the pulp, the tooth and the root may die. This will stop the
pain, but since the body is still fighting an infection, an abscess
Tooth Decay4.JPG (10040 bytes)
5. A tooth abscess will form around the base of a tooth's root. This
will cause aching and discomfort in the tooth, it will be painful to
chew on. If the abscess is not treated, it will erode the bone near
the tooth, and may lead to the formation of a canal, through the bone.
Just before this reaches the surface of the gum, a boil may form. This
may burst and release foul tasting pus into the mouth.
Tooth-Root Canal.JPG (12243 bytes)
If tooth decay is caught and treated early it does not usually pose a
health risk. However, if the decay is allowed to continue, the tooth
may die and the spreading infection may result in blood poisoning,
fever and swelling in the face and neck.
Lack of good dental care
DIAGRAM SHOWING DECAYED TEETH
Common causes of decay
Sugar is commonly believed to be the main cause of tooth decay, but it
is also caused by carbohydrates, especially processed ones such as
crisps, bread and pasta
Allowing children to snack between meals on sweets, chocolate or
crisps can cause tooth decay, because they do not brush their teeth
after snacking. Also allowing toddlers to have sugary drinks and juice
can cause tooth decay. Toddlers are not always encouraged to brush
their teeth after drinking sugary drinks because people often forget
that there is a lot of sugar in them. Also children do not always have
access to a toothbrush after meals especially if they are eating out
at a restaurant. Many drinks also contain acid which is highly
corrosive for teeth.
Preventing tooth decay
To prevent tooth decay children should try to follow the following
· Children should be encouraged to prevent tooth decay from an early
age because a habit will form.
· They should brush their teeth after every meal to prevent a build up
· Eating foods that protect against caries such as milk and cheese can
raise the pH levels in the mouth and therefore protect against decay.
If the pH levels in the mouth are raised it will protect the teeth
against an acid attack.
· They should be encouraged to eat foods that are rich in the
nutrients required to strengthen the teeth, such as Calcium,
Magnesium, Phosphorous and Vitamin C. They should also be made aware
of which foods contain the nutrients required for healthy teeth.
· They should be encouraged to eat foods high in NSP (dietary fibre)
because this helps to produce saliva which can prevent a build up of
plaque and prevent caries. However, if too much fibre is eaten by
young children, the food will pass straight through their digestive
system and no nutrients will be absorbed.
Nutrients that help teeth
Calcium is the main mineral used by the body to strengthen teeth and
bones. The stronger a child's teeth are, the less chance a child has
of getting tooth decay. A foetus in the mother's womb can get a good
supply of calcium if the mother has enough calcium in her diet. The
foetus will take the reserves from the mothers body.
- It is the main material in strengthening bones and teeth.
- It is required to help blood to clot.
- It is required for the functioning of muscles and nerves.
- It is required for the maintenance of bones and teeth.
-Bones of canned fish
- Muscle weakness or twitching
- Muscle pains and cramps
- Brittle nails
- Numbness, tingling and stiffness in feet and hands
- Lower back pains
- Abdominal Pain
- Muscle Weakness
Recommended Daily Allowance
4- 6 Years
Lactating 1-3 Months
Lactating 4+ Months
- Helps with the formation of bones and teeth
- Assists with muscle contraction and relaction
- Assists with transmission of nerve impulses
- Activates many different enzymes
- Sea vegetables (seaweed)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Whole grains
This ranges from 50 - 400 mgs, depending on your age,
gender and health status.
- Heart disease
- Aching muscles
- Hair loss
- Works alongside calcium to build and maintain strong bones and
- Helps our bodies convert food into energy.
- Dairy products
- Egg yolks
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Soft drinks
- Bone Pain
- Bone and teeth problems
§ Vitamin C
- Growth and maintenance of bones, teeth, gums, ligaments and blood
- Wound healing
- Iron absorption
- Citrus fruits
- Red/green peppers
The RDI of vitamin C ranges up to 1000mgs depending on your age,
gender and health status.
- Bleeding gums
- Dental caries
- Low infection resistance