It’s that time. Lazy summer days are coming to an end, and another school year is just around the corner. As you shop for a new backpack and gather school supplies, don’t neglect the importance of choosing dental-friendly snacks to pack for your child each day. You should know that there are seemingly “healthy” snack options that can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. On the other hand, there are some delicious snacks that can fuel your child’s body as well as help protect their smile from decay.
Most children, regardless of their grade in school, can bring a snack from home to enjoy mid-morning or during the afternoon. What your child may want to bring and what is good for their teeth may not always align. To minimize disruptive dental problems throughout the school year, here are some top snacks that your dentist will approve:
Crunchy Fruits and Veggies
Apples, celery and carrots are not only packed with vitamins and nutrients, but these fibrous produce options can act as nature’s toothbrush and scrub teeth as you chew. In addition, the high water content in crunchy fruits like apples can balance out their naturally-containing sugars that satisfy your child’s “sweet tooth.”
Cheese and Yogurt
Most dairy snacks are safe for your child’s teeth and can actually work to protect their smile. Milk, cheese and yogurt are rich in calcium, casein and phosphorus. These nutrients work to build strong tooth enamel while also helping to neutralize some of the acid produced by plaque bacteria. Packing string-cheese in your child’s snack bag could help you avoid cavity repair during the school year.
Snacks to Limit or Avoid
You probably know not to pack candy and sodas for your child to snack on at school. However, there are some other snack choices that are less obvious but also harmful to young smiles. Here are some snacks that may seem healthy but contain high sugars, simple starches or acids that can damage tooth enamel over time.
- Fruit Juices
- Sports Drinks
- Raisins, Dried Fruit
- Fruit Snacks (Gummies)
- Chips/Crackers (made from White Flour)
Keep in mind that what your child munches on during the school day can linger on their teeth and gums for hours at a time. Most kids are not brushing their teeth after snack time. Always send water with your child for teeth-friendly hydration, and be mindful of the snack choices you let them consume each day.
For more advice on dentist-approved school snacks, contact The Pediatric Dental Team.
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