August 6, 2019
With school starting soon, many of us will be regularly packing lunches for our kids. The foods and beverages you choose can impact their dental health, as well as their overall health. To help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums, check out Dr. Airey’s dental dos and don’ts for school lunches.
If you have any questions about his advice, give us a call at 828-355-5673. It’s also not too late to schedule a dental exam for your child. It’s a good idea to do so before they become busy with sports, clubs, homework, and other school activities.
Do Pack Foods That Help Clean Teeth
Carrots, celery, and apples are among the best choices for school lunches. Since these foods contain lots of water, they help wash away the bacteria that can cause cavities. Their crunchy texture helps too, acting almost like a natural “toothbrush.” To make celery more appealing to kids, consider filling celery sticks with cream cheese or peanut butter. They may like apple wedges better when dunked into peanut butter too.
Don’t Pack Starchy Foods
Many folks believe that savory snacks like chips, pretzels, and crackers are a better choice than sweets. Yet starchy foods made with white flour are very high in carbohydrates, which will quickly break down into sugars in your child’s mouth. The good news is, it’s possible to find many alternatives to traditional potato chips in stores today, including crunchy snacks made from vegetables like beets, carrots, and peas. They’ll satisfy your child’s taste for a spicy, salty snack without all of the starch. Plus, these veggies contain more vitamins than potatoes.
Do Pack Dairy Products
Cheese and yogurt are great choices for school lunches. Dairy foods contain phosphate, calcium, and casein. These substances not only help strengthen tooth enamel, they can actually help repair it. These foods also help balance the pH level in your child’s mouth, making it less hospitable to acids and bacteria. Eating foods with dairy after consuming a sweet treat can even help neutralize the sugar.
Don’t Pack Sticky Sweets
Many children want a sweet treat to finish their meal. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, chocolate is a good choice, especially if it’s in small portions like chocolate squares or kisses. Unlike sticky treats that cling to teeth, chocolate melts and is quickly washed away. The best choice is dark chocolate. It has lots of antioxidants, which prevent bacteria from turning into damaging acids.
Do Pack Raisins
While sticky foods generally aren’t good for your child’s teeth, it looks like raisins may be an exception. University of Chicago researchers found that substances called phytochemicals in raisins suppress several kinds of bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease. Raisins are full of other good things too, including iron, fiber, and calcium.
Don’t Pack Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are marketed as a healthy beverage. But nearly every kind of sports drink contains added sugars and flavors. In addition, they are highly acidic, so they weaken your child’s tooth enamel. Juices, which are also marketed as a healthy alternative to soda, are also packed with extra sugar and acids. The best choices for beverages for your child’s lunch are water, milk, or unsweetened tea.
Keep your child’s mouth healthy with our dental dos and don’ts. Call Appalachian Dental Care at [phone] if you have any questions or if you need to appointments for any family members.