Are you preparing your child for another school year? As you shop for a new backpack, purchase school supplies or pick out new shoes, don’t forget about the snacks you will send with your child each day. It is important to choose snacks with will fuel your child’s mind and body without damaging their smile.
What’s the Big Deal with School Snacks?
It’s just one snack out of the day, does it really matter if it isn’t the best choice for their teeth? Yes! Consider the fact that when your child enjoys a mid-morning or afternoon snack at school, they typically won’t go brush their teeth right after. Therefore, if you send a pack of fruit snacks, those sugars are going to cling to your child’s teeth for the remainder of the day. The longer sugars and acids linger on our pearly whites, the higher the risk for decay. While it won’t hurt to send a fun treat or favorite snack to school with your child on occasion, make sure you are balancing it with other smile-healthy options – and there are plenty!
Avoid These Snacks
- High-Starch Carbs. Carbohydrates are hard to completely avoid when it comes to school snacks. However, there are some carbs that are better than others. In general, the less refined the starch, the less likely it is to cause decay. Consider whole-wheat versions of crackers and breads to qualify as a more dental-friendly choice.
- Sugary and Sticky. This can be tricky. Don’t assume that “sugary and sticky” always means candy. There are some seemingly “healthy” snack options that can wreak havoc on teeth, including raisins, fruit snacks, sweetened cereals and more. Stay away from snacks that list high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient.
Choose Dentist-Approved Snacks
- Dairy Items. Cheese and other low-sugar dairy snacks are an excellent choice for fueling the body as well as protecting the teeth. The calcium in dairy can support strong teeth and gums and even protect against cavities. Dairy is also high in protein but low in acids and sugar!
- Crunchy fruits and veggies. Always a win for your child’s oral health and body health. Not only does the act of chewing apples, celery and other fresh produce help clean your child’s teeth during the day, but these foods contain enamel boosting vitamins to ward off decay. While fresh fruits do contain sugar, they are also high in water content to help dilute any harmful effects on the teeth.
Schedule Your Back-to-School Dental Cleaning
Last but not least, make sure your child has a professional dental cleaning before getting on the bus for the first time. These routine dental visits are critical for a healthy and happy school year! For more tips on how to protect your child’s teeth and gums or to schedule a pediatric dental visit, please call Dr. Tejal Kakade in Carrollton.