We all know that brushing and flossing are important for dental health. But consuming a balanced diet rich in nutritious, low-sugar foods is also important. Sometimes life can get busy and families need to snack while away from home.
Many snacks that aren’t good for your body are also bad for your teeth.
Snacks that are high in sugar and carbs like cookies, juices, and candy cause a sticky build-up of bacteria on your teeth, called plaque. And when left untreated, plaque can cause tooth decay.
With the right balance and variety of healthy foods and some planning, you can create healthy eating habits that in turn make for a healthy mouth. Here’s a list of our favorite tooth-friendly, healthy snacks for when you’re on the go:
Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips or other salty snacks. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that help build stronger teeth. Chewing nuts promotes saliva production that naturally protects and cleans your teeth by clearing the mouth of food particles and acid buildup that can lead to the formation of cavities.
Fresh Fruits and Crunchy Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and nutrients important for your child’s overall health. The act of chewing crisp fruits and veggies scrubs away food particles and plaque and promotes saliva production, which can help prevent cavities. Fruits and vegetables are a perfect alternative to the pre-bagged cookie and cracker snacks that are high in added sugar and have little to no nutritional value.
- Apples are full of fiber and the thick skin scrubs your teeth, gums, and tongue to help fight plaque buildup.
- Celery has high a water content and is an excellent snack option for your teeth. Because it’s crunchy, celery massages the gums as you chew and scrapes away bad bacteria from the teeth.
- Carrots are full of fiber and vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for strengthening the tooth enamel. Carrots also stimulate saliva production, which cleans teeth and helps prevent the buildup of bad bacteria that can lead to cavities.
Cheese and Dairy
Cheese and other dairy products such as milk and low-fat yogurts are low in sugar and high in calcium and protein, which are the minerals that build stronger teeth and bones. String cheese and other handheld cheese snacks are much better for teeth than chips and starchy snacks.
Lean proteins like fish, chicken, and eggs have high amounts of phosphorous, a mineral that is important in protecting tooth enamel. Snacks like chicken salad with nuts and celery, or a tuna sandwich with whole wheat bread will give your child a healthy energy boost before any after-school event.
Don’t Forget the Water
Instead of reaching for a juice box, soda, or a sports drink, choose water. Encouraging your kids to swish water around in their mouth after they’ve eaten a snack can help remove debris caught in their teeth that can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup.
In addition to choosing healthy snacks, it’s important to brush and floss daily, and maintain regular checkups with Dr. Kailes, Dr. Staman and Dr. Johnston. Call us today to schedule your next appointment!