Great dental care for kids goes beyond brushing and flossing. A balanced diet that is rich in nutritious, low-sugar foods is also important for maintaining a beautiful smile. If your child consumes too many sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or starch-laden snacks, they could be at risk for tooth decay. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, but the good news is that it is highly preventable!
When to Snack
Eating frequent snacks makes it easier for bacteria to flourish in the mouth and form plaque on your child’s teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends limiting the number of snacks during the day to prevent cavities. That’s because it’s not just important what you eat, but when you eat. At mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that can help wash away those starches or sugary treats, counteract acid-producing bacteria and remineralize teeth.
Don’t worry, we don’t expect you or your child to never eat sweets or starches. There is a better time to eat them than at snack time, however, and that is during meals!
What to Eat
While kids may not go for the raw broccoli and plain celery sticks, there are plenty of tasty snacks you can prepare for hungry, healthy mouths. Find out what foods fight tooth decay and how to encourage your kids to enjoy them.
- Low-fat yogurt with berries.
- Sliced, fresh watermelon.
- Crunchy veggies with dip.
- Celery sticks spread with cream cheese and sunflower seeds.
- Cheddar cheese and apples.
- Unsalted almonds and coconut flakes.
- Hummus with toasted whole grain pita triangles.
Sip All Day, Get Decay
Whether your child is drinking milk, juice or soda, don’t let them sip it throughout the day. Constant consumption of either food or drink is harmful for teeth because, not only are you feeding yourself, you’re also feeding the cavity-causing bacteria that reside in your mouth. Limit snacking to once or twice a day and have your child sip on water. If they drink anything that contains sugar, have them drink it during mealtimes or all at once.
Make wise food choices a part of daily dental care for kids. Eating a balanced diet and flossing and brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste can help prevent cavities. Set up regular dental appointments for your kids, and rest assured that you are doing a good job taking care of those smiles!