As a parent, you can help your child achieve a healthy smile in many different ways. One way you can greatly help is by packing a lunch that improves their oral health.
Avoid Sugary Drinks – Even “Healthy” Drinks
Allowing children to sip on sugary beverages over long periods of time increases their exposure to sugar, and acid attacks that can erode their enamel. Try to limit or remove sports drinks, sodas, and high-sugar juices from their diets to aid in their oral health. Sugary beverages are one of the leading sources of sugar for children, and some can even be disguised as “healthy drinks” like nutritional water or sports drinks.
Water helps rid teeth of damaging acids and food debris, and help keeps saliva flowing – which naturally keeps teeth clean. Water is the healthiest beverage for teeth, and we suggest packing it instead of any other drink in your child’s lunch.
Also, don’t fall for nutritional waters. Most of these “enhanced” water products have an excessive amount of sugar, and aren’t great for teeth or overall health.
Stay Away From Food Marketed as “Healthy”
Granola cereal, dried fruit and trail mix can seem like healthier options, but they’re often packed with extras that aren’t healthy at all. In fact, dried fruit sticks to teeth and fuels bad bacteria that cause cavities, and granola can be packed with extra sugar and fat. If you’re buying granola or health cereal, stay away from those that have marshmallows, chocolate pieces, and even candy. Look for a higher fiber content, and granola that contains more natural ingredients like nuts and rolled oats.
Add More Whole foods
When packing your child’s lunch, add in natural, whole vegetables and fruits whenever you can. Instead of packing starchy chips, try to add small pieces of celery with a healthy dip, or baby carrots. Instead of packing an imitation fruit snack as dessert, try packing fresh, fibrous fruit like strawberries, kiwi or apples. By replacing sweets and starches with fibrous fruits and vegetables, you can help your child avoid unnecessary sugar, and help them keep their teeth clean while they’re away from home. Fiber naturally cleans teeth by scrubbing away food particles leftover from a meal.
Substitute Nuts for Chips
Crackers, potato chips and other starchy foods can get stuck in the small areas of tooth surfaces. Without proper brushing, these foods provide sugar to bacteria that feed on it, which ultimately leads to tooth decay. Instead of chips, pack nuts instead, which are full of fiber and healthy protein.
Dietary Choices Affect Teeth
The food your child eats affects their teeth, and influences their overall oral health. Visit our office for more information about mouth-healthy diets, and how food can impact teeth.