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Consider the Health of Child's Teeth When Packing Lunch

When packing your child’s lunch or snacks for the day, consider the affect the food you give them may have on their teeth. Many may surprise you!

The Good - Food for Health Teeth

Raw fruits and veggies: Fruits that contain high water content, such as melons, are best for teeth as they help clean out the mouth. Foods high in vitamin C also help kill bacteria. Veggies such as broccoli, celery, and carrots are great for teeth as they require a lot of chewing, which helps scrape off plaque and any other food residue that may be lingering on the teeth or gums. These vegetables also contain high amounts of vitamin A, which is essential for the preservation of tooth enamel.

Cheese and yogurt: Both contain high amounts of calcium, which helps produce stronger bones and teeth, and cause your mouth to salivate more, which helps to clean out extra mouth bacteria and foods.

Pumpkin and sunflower seeds: Seeds are high in natural fat, which helps protect against bacteria and also reinforces the enamel in your teeth.

Meat products: Chicken, turkey and eggs all contain phosphorous, an essential tool in creating strong and healthy bones.

Sugar-free gum: Although usually not allowed in school, it may be good for an after school treat. Gum, in the sugar-free form, is another great way to help produce more saliva in the mouth and may help remove some of the day’s leftover food and bacteria.

The Bad

Raisins: Raisins and other dried fruits contain high amounts of natural sugar and easily stick to teeth. Although better than candy with artificial sugars, it should be eaten in moderation.

Sticky Snacks: Quick and easy on-the-go snacks like granola bars, fruit snacks and peanut butter may not be the best option for a quick fix. Again, although nutritionally healthier than many other snacks, foods like these easily stick to teeth and can stay all day.

Starchy food: Foods high in starch, such as white bread, muffins, potato chips and some crackers, more easily stick to teeth and remain in the mouth longer causing bacteria to build up and create cavities over time.

Juice, sodas and sports drinks: While OK in moderation, prolonged drinking of these high-sugar-content drinks throughout the day can cause may problems.

The Ugly

Candy: Whether it is chewy like caramels, sticky like taffy or hard like lollipops, all candy is something that should be eaten in moderation. Not only does it lack any nutritional value, it also contains high amounts of sugar that clings to teeth and gums and causes cavities.

Have a candy lover on your hands? Teach them good oral habits and make sure they are protected with adequate dental insurance

For more information about oral health and diet, visit these resources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—Oral Health and Nutrition

American Dental Association—Diet and Oral Health

American Dental Hygienists’ Association—Oral Health Nutrition

WebMD—Diet and Oral Health

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