With the kids getting out of school, now is the perfect time to start thinking about healthy snack ideas for summer. While you should certainly consider how many calories and grams of sugar your kids are consuming, it’s also important to think about how different foods can affect their teeth and oral health. In today’s blog post, we’ve put together a list of fun snack ideas that are good for your kids and their teeth.
Smart Snack Tips Parents Should Know
When kids snack, they often turn to treats and desserts that are high in sugar. Candies, cookies, and ice cream are all obvious culprits—but some seemingly innocent foods such as breads, juice, and salsa and dips are also loaded with sugar and sweeteners.
Sugar is bad for teeth because it can combine with the bacteria in your mouth to turn into dangerous, powerful acids that wear away your tooth enamel. Eventually, cavities can form when too much of the enamel gets worn away—and over a long period of time, this can lead to tooth loss, gum disease, and heavy decay.
A balanced diet is good for your child’s health—and it’s also great for his or her teeth.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Without a doubt, fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best snacks you can offer your child. They’re healthy, delicious, and refreshing during the hot summer months—and they have fewer sugars that can harm teeth. Stick to treats like berries, oranges, pears, pineapples, melons, carrots, celery, and broccoli—and avoid things like raisins and other dried fruits that can easily get stuck in your child’s teeth. Be sure to maintain good portion sizes and stay away from dips as well. Even a seemingly innocent ranch dip that isn’t sweet can have a high sugar content and plenty of extra calories.
Delicious Dairy Products
Loaded with bone-strengthening calcium, dairy products are another healthy snack that can actually help your child’s teeth. Some dairy products also contain caseins, a type of protein that has been shown to repair and stabilize damaged tooth enamel. If you’re giving your kids yogurt or cottage cheese, stick to the low-fat and non-fat varieties that don’t have added sugars. String cheese or a few slices of cheddar with an apple are also easy and tasty summer snack ideas.
Nutritious Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in nutrients and low in sugar. While the fats found in nuts and seeds tend to be the healthy types of fats, it’s still important to control your child’s portion sizes so that they don’t eat too many at once. Try peanuts, sunflower seeds, or toasted pumpkin seeds for a healthy afternoon pick-me-up after a long day of playing in the summer heat. Stick to unsalted and low-salt varieties for the maximum health benefits.
Of course, your child doesn’t have to avoid all sweets to enjoy good dental health. The key is to monitor how often your child consumes sugars and to keep portions to moderate sizes. It’s best to serve desserts after a meal instead of snacking on candy or popsicles throughout the day—and of course, make sure that your child is brushing twice each day and flossing every night to keep his or her teeth clean and healthy.
image by USDAgov