Every food that your child eats, affects their overall health and oral health. One of the most important things you can do as a parent, is assist your child in choosing the healthiest foods possible. Here are a few common snacks that our pediatric dentists, Dr. Chen and Dr. Griffith say that can be detrimental to the health of your child’s teeth and a smile-friendly alternative for each of them.
Sodas & Sugary Drinks
All parents know that their children love sodas and sugary drinks, but they are one of the most detrimental things to your child’s oral and overall health. The sugar in these drinks combines with the already existing bacteria in their mouths which goes to form acids that attack and wear down the enamel on your child’s teeth, which makes them more prone to decay and cavities. By limiting sodas and establishing them as a special treat, you can establish water as your child’s main beverage. If you add lemon, lime or cucumber to their water it can infuse antioxidants as well as improve the flavor.
For the same reason as sodas, ice cream can quickly become a problem for a child’s oral health due to the high sugar content and extreme cold temperature. These factors both lead to weakened enamel, which can later on lead to tooth decay and cavities. One great alternative to ice cream is frozen yogurt, which is low in sugar, topped with fresh fruit. This option is much more cost friendly and can simply be done by buying tubed yogurt and sticking it in the freezer. The fruit will provide the sweetness that your child is craving, and yogurt has many benefits for the digestive system and for your teeth. Another great alternative for ice cream, is “Banana Nice Cream”. This delicious dessert can simply be made by freezing a peeled banana and sticking it in a food processor until it is smooth. Your child is sure to love this creamy dessert topped with strawberries!
Potato Chips & Starchy Snacks
Many people may not think of potato chips as a food that can be damaging to oral health, because they typically have little to no sugar. Potato chips are detrimental for different reasons, those reasons being these foods can easily get stuck and hidden between your child’s teeth. Potato chips have a high starch content which eventually converts into sugar soon after consumption of the snack. An alternative snack for potato chips are different types of nuts. Great nuts to try are peanuts, almonds and walnuts. These all contain vitamins that can help to strengthen children’s teeth and their enamel as well as minerals that stimulate saliva production.
In addition to these healthy alternatives it is important to continue to schedule regular dental checkups every 6 months along with cleanings to keep teeth healthy. In between each dental cleaning remember to establish healthy brushing and eating habits.