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With the school season in full swing, lunch boxes and snack times are back. And every parent understands the challenge of keeping snacks both tasty and healthy. On top of that, they should be tooth-friendly too.
The Dentist’s Top Snack Picks
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Balancing the health of your child’s teeth with their preferences is tough. Here are some healthy go-tos for making snack time more nutritious.
Cheese is a snack-time superstar, and there’s a good reason for that. Not only is it a source of protein and calcium, which can strengthen enamel, but cheese does even more.
Acidic foods can eat away at tooth enamel. Cheese helps neutralize these acids from other foods, playing a preventive role against tooth erosion.
Opt for plain cheese sticks over flavored or processed varieties for maximum benefits.
You’ve heard it time and again, but crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery, and cucumbers are fantastic for dental health. Why?
Their crunchy texture can act as a natural scrub, potentially aiding in the removal of food particles and surface stains. Munching on crunchy veggies stimulates saliva production. Saliva acts as a natural defense against cavities by rinsing away food particles.
If veggies alone won’t cut it for your picky kids, try offering dips such as ranch dressing for carrots or peanut butter for celery. Look for lower-sugar versions.
Many fruits are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. However, they’re a mixed bag when it comes to dental health.
Fruits like apples have a crunchy texture, which, similar to crunchy veggies, can help clean teeth to some extent. Options like strawberries, watermelon, and berries have high water content, which is great for cleansing teeth.
Unfortunately, fruit also contains natural sugars and acids. The good news is that the fiber in fruit helps neutralize these negatives. Encourage whole fruits over fruit juices. Juices often lack the fiber of whole fruits and can be high in sugar and acids.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews offer a variety of health benefits. They’re rich in fiber, protein, and essential fats.
Chewing nuts can stimulate saliva production, which, as we mentioned, aids in the natural cleaning process.
But be cautious. Some nuts can be hard and might risk chipping or cracking a tooth. It’s always a good idea to choose unsalted and roasted nuts.
Plain Milk or Water
When it comes to keeping your kiddos from getting thirsty, water is always the best option. It washes away food particles, keeps them hydrated, and has zero sugar. Milk is another good choice since it has calcium for strong bones and teeth.
What to Avoid
Here are some snacks that should be avoided or only enjoyed in moderation:
- Sugary Snacks: Sugar feeds harmful bacteria in our mouths, which produce acids that can lead to cavities. If you want to treat your child with a small piece of candy, choose plain milk or dark chocolate, as it is more easily washed away than options with sticky caramel or crunchy add-ins.
- Sticky Snacks: Foods like gummy candies or even dried fruit cling to teeth and can be tough to rinse away, posing a higher risk for cavities.
- Juices and Sodas: As mentioned earlier, these are often high in sugar and acids.
Empowering Your Kids
Understanding the implications of our snack choices helps in making informed decisions. An occasional treat won’t do much harm, but a consistent, well-thought-out diet can make all the difference. Encouraging kids to rinse their mouths or drink water after snacking can be a small yet effective step.
Want more tips on maintaining your child’s dental health? Schedule an appointment with us to ensure they head back to school with a healthy smile.