Summer is coming to an end and your kids are meeting their new teachers and learning their first lessons in school. You may be relieved to have a few hours to yourself during the day, but what do you do when your kids are home and hungry? What should you feed them between the end of school and dinnertime?
There are some fantastic healthy and teeth-friendly snacks that will replenish your children and keep them satisfied until you ring the dinner bell. Here are a few tried and true (and easy) ideas.
All snacks are not created equal. Yogurt, fruit, cheese, nuts, and vegetables are the best snacks for your child’s teeth and overall health. Cheese and yogurt are high in calcium, creating stronger bones and teeth and stabilizing the pH level of her mouth which decreases the likelihood of cavities. Nuts are low-sugar and high-protein, giving your daughter a burst of energy that will last her until dinner. Fruits rich with Vitamin C, such as oranges, watermelon, and cantaloupe, are also exceptional for her teeth. Vitamin C strengthens the blood vessels and connective tissue in her gums and reduces any existing inflammation. Vegetables are always fantastic; for example, carrots are a natural teeth cleaner.
Most of us know that sugar is a destroyer of teeth. Snacks like cookies and chips may be convenient, but they are not convenient for the health of your child’s teeth. Plus, cookies and chips are very high in calories but low in nutrients and won’t fill a child’s stomach—they’ll be coming back in 15 minutes asking for more food. The refined carbohydrates in these processed snacks have a lot of acidity in them that leads to cavities. Also, avoid snacks that are sticky as they can stick in the grooves of the teeth and feed oral bacteria.
Water is the best liquid your child can drink; stick with only water in between meals. You can give them juice or milk at mealtimes, but these liquids are full of much more sugar than you probably realize. Before you buy your next carton of juice, look at the back for how many grams of sugar it contains. If the numbers don’t make sense to you, consult your pediatrician or dietitian. When giving your daughter water, use the filtered tap water from your kitchen sink. This water most likely contains fluoride, whereas bottled water doesn’t.
If you want more information about healthy foods that strengthen your children’s teeth, consult your dentist. We are more than happy to provide additional tips!