With the start of school around the corner, you might already be planning out what to include (and what not to include) in your child’s lunches. Since your child likely won’t be brushing his or her teeth after lunch, what you pack becomes all the more important, as the food your child eats might linger in your child’s mouth for hours after lunch is over. Here are some of the best foods to pack in your child’s lunch for better dental health.
Cheese, along with other dairy products, actually helps to prevent acid erosion in teeth. Consider packing string cheese, sliced cheese, or small cheese cubes in your child’s lunch.
Watery fruits and vegetables
Fruits can still contain high levels of carbohydrates, but when they also contain a high amount of water, that water can help to offset those carbohydrate levels. Watery vegetables can also help to dilute carbohydrate levels in the mouth. Look for watery fruits like pears and melon, or watery vegetables like cucumbers and celery.
Nuts contain natural fats that actually protect teeth against bacteria. In addition, chewing them tends to stimulate saliva production, which helps to combat harmful acid production in the mouth. Many nuts even contain calcium. One word of caution: nuts can be difficult to chew effectively, so ensure that your child is ready to consume nuts before including them in school lunches.
Yogurt is another dairy product that is rich in healthy teeth-promoting calcium and makes for a great snack in your child’s lunch. As an added bonus, you can sprinkle small pieces of fruit or nuts onto your child’s yogurt for an added boost of dental health. Just be sure to avoid highly sweetened yogurts that contain high levels of sugar.
Milk helps protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth after harmful acids have worked to wear down tooth enamel. Packing milk instead of juice or lemonade is a great way to promote dental health in a way that many kids love.
Water is excellent for flushing food debris from the mouth, which might otherwise linger and attract tooth decay causing bacteria. Moreover, it can dilute the harmful effects that sugars and acids found in certain foods have on the teeth. And if you happen to get the water for your child’s lunch from the tap, it’ll contain an extra boost of fluoride.