As a parent, you work hard to keep your child’s meals wholesome and healthy. However, we all know that it can be difficult to plan out well-balanced meals all the time. With the school year in full swing, you’re as busy as ever, and it’s easy to just throw a Snack Pack and bag of potato chips in your kid’s lunchbox. While these are okay in moderation, too many sweets and junk food can start to take a toll on your child’s health, including the health of their teeth.
A diet which is high in sugar can lead to a mouth full of cavities. Bad bacteria called streptococcus mutans can easily invade your child’s mouth, and these bacteria feed off of sugar. The combination of the bacteria and sugar produces acid that eats away at the tooth’s enamel. After time, the depletion of calcium can eventually cause the surface of the tooth to collapse, and the result is a cavity.
The easiest way to help your child avoid cavities is by limiting the amount of sugary foods they consume throughout the day. Things like gummy candy, lollipops, chips, soda and juice are some of the most damaging foods. Not only are they high in sugar and carbohydrates, but they also tend to stay in the mouth longer when consumed. If teeth are constantly being coated with sugar, this promotes decay even faster.
There are plenty of foods that are not only good for your child’s teeth and gums, but are easy to prepare and pack in your kid’s lunchbox. Some of these include:
- Crisp fruits and vegetables – Apples, carrots and celery are high in fiber and help produce saliva, which is the mouth’s natural defense against decay.
- Cheese and yogurt – Dairy products contain calcium and other minerals that are important for the health of your teeth. Cheese cubes or sticks and yogurt cups are great for school lunches.
- Water with fluoride – Many stores carry small, “kid-sized” bottles of water with fluoride added. Choose these instead of juice boxes.
While sugary foods are not the only cause of cavities, they are one of the biggest causes. They’re also one of the easiest things to moderate. Be proactive about the health of your child’s mouth by establishing healthy eating habits at an early age. A sugary treat is perfectly okay every once in awhile, just make sure it’s given in moderation.