What is your child eating for their school lunch each day? If you’re like some parents, you avoid including candy and cookies because of the sugar content and low nutritional value, and that’s a great start. But many seemingly “healthy” foods could be damaging your child’s teeth.
Today we’re sharing what to avoid — and what to pack — to keep your child’s smile healthy.
Hidden Cavity Causers: Many parents assume that foods such as fruit snacks and other chewy fruit flavored treats are a healthier option than candy. But these types of foods may actually be one of the worst things for your child’s teeth because their sticky texture and high sugar content allow them to cling to teeth for long periods, resulting in plaque and cavities.
Another food that is detrimental to oral health is dried fruit. Although it may contain more vitamins and nutrients than many processed junk foods, dried fruit contains sugar, and often the manufacturers add additional sugar to improve the taste. The chewy texture means the sugar easily sticks to teeth.
Drink Choices Also Matter: While fruit juice is a better option than soda, it should be consumed in moderation. Remember that although it does contain some nutrients, it often contains high amounts of sugar that can quickly lead to tooth decay.
Similarly, sports drinks are often thought to be healthier than soda, but they can actually be just as damaging to teeth. While it’s true that some contain lower amounts of sugar, their high acidity level makes them harmful to teeth enamel, especially in children. Drinking acidic drinks can erode the enamel, and it cannot be repaired or replaced once it’s gone.
Foods and Drinks that Benefit Oral Health: In general, dentists recommend water and white milk as the best beverages for children. Water is necessary for hydration with none of the acid or added sugar, and milk contains important nutrients for teeth such as calcium and vitamin D.
For lunches and snacks, include foods that can help clean your child’s teeth, Crunching on celery, carrots, and apples are a great way to clean their teeth after lunch without a toothbrush! In addition, any favorite fresh fruits and veggies will provide important vitamins and minerals and are better for teeth than processed or junk foods.