Under the giant pencil sign in any supermarket around town, you’re likely to see bins of brightly colored markers, glue sticks, composition books, scissors, and other back to school essentials. While you’re filling your cart, consider making a list of foods and snacks that are healthy for your child’s teeth and gums.
Parents, before you start scratching your head, we’ve noted a few simple suggestions for you. For example, instead of making a sandwich with white bread, use whole grain. Look specifically for labels that say ‘100 percent whole grain’.
Aim for low-sodium options. Nuts, seeds, pretzels, plain popcorn, and peanut butter are a few examples. High sodium foods and snacks are broken down into simple sugars & can cause corrosion.
Choose fresh fruits and veggies over dried fruit, gummy snacks, or veggie chips. Melons, pears, berries, pineapple & watermelon are great choices! In addition, carrots, celery, and cucumbers contain both Vitamin A to preserve tooth enamel and dietary fiber for healthy gums. Overall, fruits and vegetables contain higher water content, and will facilitate in cleaning teeth and gums, too!
Include a dairy snack such as string cheese or low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese. Calcium-rich foods can help neutralize or stop decay from acids in other foods.
Lastly, rethink what your child drinks. Keep in mind that soft drinks, juice pouches, and sports drinks contain high levels of acid and sugar, which will attack the tooth enamel and weaken it. Water is the best option! Consider tap water that has been fluoridated. Pure H20 contains no acid and no sugar. In fact, it dilutes other harmful acids.
So, on the night before the first day of school, when bags are packed and ready to go, maybe your refrigerator & cupboard will be full of healthy choices for your child’s teeth and gums. Lunch-making will be made easy, and YOU, parents, will get the high score!