Choosing Healthy Snacks for Your Children

Posted by: Dr. Erwin Su, on May 23, 2013

What your child eats and drinks has tremendous influence on the health of their teeth. Nutritious snacks and drinks promote a balanced diet that discourages gum disease and improves the health of tooth enamel.

Sugary Candy isn’t the Only Culprit
When most people think of snacks that are bad or cause cavities, they think of candy. Americans do consume a high rate of sugar, but candy isn’t exactly the only source. Most children with severe tooth decay also have a high intake of juice, soda, milk or sports drinks. Whether it contains natural or artificial sweeteners, these liquids coat your child’s teeth and promote acid production by plaque bacteria. When drunk frequently throughout the day or put to bed with your child at night, their teeth are repeatedly coated with decay causing liquid. Restrict milk and juice to meals, and encourage your child to drink water.

Replace soda with water
Water is a natural lubricant that cleans the teeth, washes away acid, and also contains fluoride. Tap water has a regulated fluoride content that promotes healthy enamel development while discouraging tooth decay. Bottled water does not have regulated fluoride levels and may contain no fluoride whatsoever.

Choose organic snacks instead
Encourage your child to eat fresh, crispy fruits and vegetables. Natural fibrous, these snacks cleanse the teeth, massage the gums, and don’t stick to the enamel. Apples, popcorn, bananas and strawberries all make wonderful snacks that are healthy for the entire body, not just the teeth. Sticky foods typically contain sugar and will stay on the tooth for a long period of time. Think fresh, not processed when you’re struggling with snack ideas.

Having something sweet every now and then won’t cause cavities, but be sure to clean your teeth as soon as possible to eliminate acid erosion on the tooth enamel. Drink water frequently and brush and floss every day for efficient plaque removal.

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