With back to school approaching, parents are probably brainstorming lunch ideas to send with their kids each day. Dental Reflections Dublin wanted to give you healthy options for not only their bodies but their teeth too! Some sticky snacks can make your child more cavity prone, while others can help fight off those bad boys. We will also talk about beverages. Here are some healthy options and others to stay away from:
Some tasty, healthy choices for your child’s lunch bag include nuts, cheese, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables. We know some schools these days are peanut free but you could always send almonds, walnuts or pistachios. Cheeses are basic on the pH scale which means less likely to cause cavities. Cheddar cheese cubes or string cheese are wonderful options to send to lunch with your child. Yogurt also helps alter the pH in your mouth, creating a healthy environment. Be sure to choose one without added sugar. Greek is a good option. Sliced fruits like apples or strawberries are also good options to send with your child. While all fruits do have natural sugars in them, these choices are not sticky and are very nutritious. Fresh vegetables are also a great option and include carrot sticks, broccoli, snap peas, cucumbers and more.
Not So Healthy Choices for the Mouth
Snacks to avoid include dried fruits, fruit snacks, granola bars, chips, and crackers. If you do choose crackers or bread, be sure to choose whole grain. Dried fruits like raisins, pineapple and mangoes are very sticky and can stay in the teeth throughout the day even after eating. Same goes for fruit snacks. Granola bars are also very sticky and typically have honey or some type of sugar/sweetener that is very acidic making you more prone to cavities. Bacteria in the mouth love carbs and sugars which creates a by-product more likely to cause a cavity.
Let’s talk about drinks. Sipping on anything besides water between meals puts you at a higher risk for developing a cavity. This includes flavored waters, naturally flavored sparkling waters, and diet stuff. They are all acidic. Yes, our hearts are broken too.
The takeaway is drinking your flavored beverages with meals when you have other foods to balance the pH. We aren’t saying you can never have another sticky snack, carb or soda, but frequency is key. Consuming it in a shorter time is best vs. small sips and grazing. Also – you can pop in a piece of gum with xylitol if you do indulge, which helps balance the pH in your mouth. The bad bacteria consume the xylitol and they can’t metabolize it so it kills them off. Dental Reflections Dublin hopes this made your day. Happy packing!