As a busy parent on-the-go, it can be tempting to give your children pre-packaged snacks to satisfy their hunger and save a little time. But, a lot of packaged snacks contain a high amount of sugar or carbohydrates, which can lead to cavities. However, you can give your child delicious snacks that they love, and keep their teeth clean in the process. Here are some recommendations from our pediatric dentist, Dr. Elizabeth Chen.
Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue as they’re being eaten because of their fibrous texture – particularly the skin. This helps fight plaque buildup, and helps remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue. We suggest adding apple slices into your child’s diet as a dessert substitute. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits.
Nuts are another handy snack that promote a healthy mouth. Nuts are rich in protein, which helps to build stronger teeth. Chewing nuts promotes saliva production that naturally protects and cleans your teeth by clearing the mouth of debris and acid buildup that can lead to cavities. Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, or other salty snacks that your kids may crave.
Cheese is high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Try adding a couple of slices of cheese to your child’s lunch every day to give them more calcium and casein. Or, you can buy them string cheese since it is a fun snack that kids love to eat!
BONUS! Limit Citrus
Food and drinks high in citric acid erode tooth enamel in a process called demineralization. In bad cases of demineralization, acid will work its way to the soft layer beneath the enamel called the dentin. These advanced cases lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. If you consume anything with high citric acid, rinse with water for 30 seconds afterwards to clean away some of the lingering acid.
Visit our Pediatric Office
If you’re concerned about your child’s diet affecting their oral health, or worried that they may have cavities, then visit our office. Our pediatric dentists will perform a comprehensive oral exam, and determine the best treatment plan for their specific case. We can also offer advice on dietary choices that improve oral health, and how you can help keep your kids away from cavities.