The Link Between Breakfast and Healthy Teeth

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  • Braces-Friendly Recipes Your Kids Will Love
  •  Schoolteachers and health professionals have long touted the benefits of “the most important meal of the day.” Kids who eat breakfast focus better in school; they have more energy; and breakfast helps them keep their body weight in a healthy range, studies have shown.
    "COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">Now dentists are joining the rallying cry of “Don’t skip breakfast!”

    "COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">A study published in January’s Journal of the American Dental Association has found that young children who skip breakfast may increase their risk of tooth decay.

    The study examined whether healthful eating practices (breastfeeding, eating breakfast, eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, etc.) affected decay in the primary teeth of kids ages 2-5. Researchers used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

    "COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">“Specifically, not eating breakfast every day was found to be associated with overall caries (tooth decay) experience and untreated decay in the primary dentition in children aged two through five years,” the authors wrote.

    Kids from minority or lower socioeconomic groups are known to be more at risk of tooth decay than non-minority children or those in higher socioeconomic groups. But in analyzing information about more than 4,000 preschoolers, researchers found that poor eating practices (including not eating breakfast and eating less than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day) also seemed to contribute to tooth decay – whether the child was living in poverty or not.

    The authors found no link between breastfeeding and decay in primary teeth.


    Visit the American Dental Association for more information on children's dental health.

    Don't miss the ADA's downloadable kids' activity sheets, including wacky word jumbles, preposterous puzzles, cool coloring sheets, meandering maze and a smile calendar.  

    Related reading:

  • How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

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