As the days get shorter and the kids head back to school, parents are faced with the seemingly-endless task of providing snacks and lunches for growing, hungry kids. While the most important considerations for selecting healthy school snacks and lunches are typically ease of preparation and taste, it’s also important to consider the effect these foods are having on your children’s teeth. Because these foods are consumed daily, in the middle of the day, when most kids go the longest between brushing and flossing, school snacks and lunches can have a huge impact on their oral health.
School Snacks to Avoid
As a general rule, try to avoid sugary, starchy foods. Not only do these foods cause the most damage to healthy teeth and gums, they only provide short bursts of energy, whereas most kids need a more prolonged energy source to fuel their long day of activity. Some common examples of foods that are high in sugars and starch, which should be avoided or minimized, are:
- Sodas and Juices
- Sweet Crackers and Breads
Sweet Food Alternatives
If you have a child who really loves sweets, and is always asking for them in their lunches, try substituting fruits for processed sugars. While fresh fruit still contains a lot of sugar, it is generally easier to digest, and less harmful on teeth and oral health, than the highly-processed sugars founds in the foods above.
Avoid Sticky Foods
Another food type that is often overlooked, and can be equally detrimental to teeth and oral health, are sticky, chewy foods. Foods such as raisins and granola bars, while easy to pack, tend to stick to teeth and gums, hanging around until the next brushing and flossing. As a chewy food alternative, consider cheeses, which research has found to encourage the flow of saliva and help keep the mouth clean.
Last but not least, don’t forget to provide plenty of water for your child. Drinking water regularly throughout the day is one of the best ways to keep teeth and gums happy, healthy and clean. A quality, reusable water bottle will last a long time, and provide your child with a constant reminder to be drinking water throughout the day.
By following these simple guidelines about healthy back-to-school snacks, you can help keep your children’s teeth clean and healthy, minimizing future problems and trips to the dentist. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s oral health, please don’t hesitate to contact Tahoe Reno Dental Implant Expert, Dr. Martin.