Kids love snacks, especially those full of sugar, salt, starch and other unhealthy ingredients. Not only are these snacks unhealthy for a child’s overall health, they can also cause major damage to their teeth. Snacks like cookies, candies, juice, potato chips and pretzels can all lead to tooth decay, especially when teeth are not brushed thoroughly.
Fortunately, there are various healthy and delicious snack options you can serve to your children in place of unhealthy junk food. Here are a few tooth-friendly foods that your kids will love:
Fruits and Vegetables
It’s hard to go wrong with fruits and veggies. There are tons of ways to make plant-based food interesting and tasty to your kids. However, not all fruits and veggies are created equal. Fruits and vegetables like pears, melons, celery and cucumbers contain a high volume of water, so these are the healthiest to serve. Bananas and raisins contain a lot of concentrated sugar, so make sure to brush your child’s teeth after they eat these.
Kids love everything cheesy. The good news is Cheddar, Monterrey Jack and Swiss cheese can all trigger the flow of saliva which helps wash away food particles from the teeth. This makes cheese a great choice to serve with fibrous foods like celery.
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit
The probiotics in plain yogurt and Greek yogurt slow the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Yogurt will also balance the mouth’s pH levels and create an unfriendly environment for bacteria to thrive. The high calcium percentages in yogurt will also help keep your teeth strong.
Oat or rice cakes and peanut butter
- Hummus and pita bread
- Plain popcorn
- Whole grain breads and pasta
- Low sugar cereals
Many sticky, chewy foods like raisins, dried figs, granola bars and honey can be healthy in moderation, but these foods stick to the teeth and make it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away. Children should immediately brush their teeth after eating these to avoid sugar buildup.
Sugary treats like cake and cookies are fine to serve in moderation, as completely restricting your child from treats will only increase their cravings and decrease self-control when consuming unhealthy food. Give these treats as dessert instead of snacks, since there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth during mealtime, making it easier for food to be washed away.
You should also try to get your child in the habit of eating fewer snacks, as the frequency of snacking is more crucial than the quantity consumed. Time between meals will allow saliva to wash away food particles that bacteria otherwise feasts on and frequently snacking without brushing provides consistent fuel to feed bacteria, leading to plaque development and tooth decay.