There are some foods that you, as a parent, already know are bad for your kids’ teeth, and you probably have a good guess at some of the food choices a dentist would recommend your child stay away from as they are trying to develop strong and healthy teeth. Two of the more obvious snacks for your children to avoid include soda or other sugary drinks and candy, specifically the chewy kind like taffy and caramels that stick to the teeth causing tooth enamel to break down. But what about those snacks that are not obviously bad for kids’ teeth? What does that category include?
The things to pay most attention to when choosing snacks for your child when considering the health of their teeth is the amount of sugar in the snack, the acidity, and how chewy the snack is. Things like dried fruit may appear to be a great healthy snack, but dried fruit often contains a significant amount of sugar, and its chewy substance adheres that sugar right to the teeth. Fruit snacks have a very similar problem, except they contain even more sugar. You should also be careful with how much citrus fruit you give your child. Highly acidic fruits such as grapefruits should only be eaten occasionally because the acid in the fruit can erode tooth enamel over time. Even snacks such as chips and bread can lead to tooth decay. How? These snacks are starches made from white flour. White flour turns into simple sugars in the body, and simple sugars are bad for teeth.
As funny as it sounds, snacks that make your mouth create saliva are great for your child’s teeth. Why? If their mouth is producing saliva, their teeth are getting a good rinse while they are eating. Foods in this category that your child will love include cheese, nuts, juicy fruits, and crunchy vegetables. Other foods that make good snacks for kids’ teeth are fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. Snacks with high fiber can scrub away the plaque from your kid’s teeth, keeping them healthy and strong. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese strengthen and protect kids’ teeth because of the calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D that these snacks contain. Nuts and seeds are a great snack that can replenish minerals in tooth enamel that may have been removed by acidic foods. Cutting up some broccoli or other leafy green vegetables make for excellent snacks for kids because they are full of vitamins and minerals that also keep tooth enamel healthy. Water that contains appropriate levels of fluoride is also smart to give kids because it prevents and can even reverse the early stages of tooth decay.
Thinking twice about the snacks you keep in your pantry, following the basics of brushing and flossing twice daily, and applying some of these healthy teeth snack ideas will not only be beneficial to the state of your child’s teeth, but beneficial to their health as a whole.