If you have kids, you know how much they like to snack. Their active, growing bodies need fuel throughout the day. Is your pantry and fridge stocked with healthy choices? The truth is, some foods that are considered “good” for their bodies are not always healthy for your child’s teeth.
To quickly determine if your child’s snack is a good or poor choice for their dental health, ask yourself the following three questions?
Is it Sticky?
If the snack is gooey or sticky, you can probably rule it out as a good dental snack. Most of these foods contain high amounts of sugar that also cling to your child’s teeth (despite rinsing with water afterwards). When it comes to sugars, always try to minimize their duration inside the mouth. Choices such as caramel and lollipops can linger way too long and cause trouble.
You may also be surprised to learn that gummies and dried fruits (including raisins) fall into this category. These may seem healthy, but dried fruits contain sugars that are highly concentrated and their gummy texture can cling to teeth just like candy. Furthermore, the dried fruit is typically loaded with non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can trap sugars on and around the teeth even more.
Is it Starchy?
You may not consider white bread, potato chips or pasta as bad snacks for your smile because they aren’t high in sugar. However, these choices have a tendency to get stuck in between teeth and along crevices of your child’s smile. It doesn’t take long for these starches to convert to sugar and combine with bacteria – which increases your risk for tooth decay.
Is it Acidic?
Carbonated beverages, fruit juices, energy drinks and high citrus fruits should be avoided if possible. Not only are acidic foods and drinks a threat to your tooth enamel, but these choices often contain high amounts of sugar as well. Once the enamel of your child’s smile is eroded or weakened, it doesn’t grow back. Your child may get cavities more often or complain of sensitive teeth.
Did your snack pass the test? If not, consider some healthy alternatives. There’s plenty of them. If you want to please your child’s taste buds as well as promote healthy teeth, opt for cheese, nuts and fibrous fruits. In general, keep acids, sugars and starches at a minimum. For hydrating your child, its best to rely on water! If you want to learn more about healthy dental habits for kids, call Bencaz Family Dentistry to ask about children's dental care. We love caring for young smiles!