As moms, we know how important healthy snacks are to help kids maintain energy throughout the day. But when making a healthy snack or school lunch, it’s not always easy to know which foods might be harmful for teeth. In this post, we’ll share some of Dr. Asha’s advice about what she sends for her own kids to eat at school.
First off, let’s talk about why snacking isn’t the greatest for our teeth. While there are certainly other health benefits to snacks and smaller meals, from a dental perspective it’s a problem. “When we eat throughout the day, we don’t give our mouths a chance to neutralize acid from cavity-causing bacteria,” Dr. Asha said. Our bodies have a natural process for cleaning teeth and constant eating interrupts it. So what does she recommend?
Healthy Snacks To Enjoy
Raw Veggies – Carrots, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers and other fibrous vegetables are great for teeth because they act as natural toothbrushes as we eat them. Crunching on carrots helps remove food particles and stimulates saliva production, which is what we want to break down the acid.
Along with plums, pumpkin, and cauliflower, strawberries contain naturally occurring xylitol, which has been shown to fighting cavity-causing bacteria. Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and contain manganese and other nutrients.
A great alternative to chips, salty and crunchy nuts or seeds give us a little boost of protein. Just be sure that your child’s teeth are strong enough for nuts as severe decay may cause teeth to be more susceptible to breaking.
Leafy greens contain B vitamins, which help fight gum disease. Eat it raw, cooked, or in juice form. Try blending greens with ice, banana, and mango for a healthy treat.
Cheese is another good way to reduce acidity in the mouth. It also has calcium, which is an important building block for healthy teeth (and bones!)
Snacks To Watch Out For
Candy – All candy isn’t equally bad for your teeth. Sticky, sour, hard candy is certainly the worst while dark chocolate is one of the best. It’s not realistic to say “no candy,” but we try to teach children how to choose better options.
Carbohydrates – Starchy snacks like breads, crackers, pretzels, and chips are converted to sugars as we chew them. Just because they aren’t sweet, these salty snacks can do just as much damage to our teeth.
Sneaky Sugar – Dried fruits, flavored yogurt, and fruit snacks all seem like healthy snack options. But check food labels for sugar content, which can be surprisingly high. And remember that sticky foods are difficult to remove from teeth, causing harmful sugars to remain on teeth.