“I WANT A SNACK!”

Parents everywhere hear this chorus from their children often throughout the day, especially now that summer is in full swing and families are taking a break from normal school schedules to enjoy outdoor sports, evening bonfires and weekend trips to the lake. Families need these more relaxed times. They give parents and children opportunities to recharge and make memories that will last a lifetime. But summer fun can also tempt parents to be more flexible with their kids’ food choices, and that is a big mistake.

Whole, natural foods—filled with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals—help your children grow smart, strong, tall and beautiful. But they support healthy teeth and gums too. Since parents generally get good nutrition into kids at mealtimes, changing up snack options offers the most potential for positive impact. Encourage your kids to choose the good stuff!

GOOD SNACK STUFF – WHOLE, NATURAL FOODS

  • High protein foods, like cheeses, nuts and yogurt
  • Fresh fruits and veggies, filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals
  • Peanut butter, hummus and ranch dressing if needed to encourage healthy snack choices
  • Water

BAD SNACK STUFF – SUGARS & ACIDS BREAK DOWN TEETH

  • Fruit roll-ups/snacks, dried/pureed fruits and fruit leather, which are often stripped of the fiber that cleans teeth and leave sticky sugars to sit on or between teeth
  • Treats, like candy bars that are filled with refined sugars
  • Processed carbohydrates, like chips and crackers, which the body converts to sugar
  • Juices, which are high in sugar and acid
  • Sport drinks, sodas and sugar-free waters, which are often flavored with acidic ingredients and/or sugars

MODERATION & BALANCE

  • Reserve sugary and acidic treats for special occasions rather than keeping them in the house
  • Remind kids to brush immediately after they’ve indulged in a special treat
  • Keep water handy so kids can stay hydrated and rinse after sweet snacks
  • Offer sugar-free gum in moderation to stimulate saliva and help keep teeth clean between brushings

If your family is in need of a partner in dental care, please contact us. You can learn more about my partner Dennis and I here. For more information about our dental practice and staff, please read some of these other blog entries.