August 3, 2019
Taking care of your teeth is a lifelong process that pays off when you’re older. Sometimes, as a child, it’s easy for them to put their oral health on the backburner when they’re exhausted at the end of the school day. As a parent, you want them to be able to enjoy their natural teeth for decades to come, that’s why you get worried each time they get a cavity. A pediatric dentist in Birmingham offers five oral-health-conscious foods to sneak into your little one’s lunchbox to help protect their mouth and keep them from experiencing dental distractions throughout the school year.
Swap Sticky Fruit Snacks for Regular Fruit
Sticky sweets like fruit snacks and gummies can mold and attach themselves to your child’s teeth and stay there all day. It’s no surprise that these snacks are concentrated with sugars that can increase the number of harmful oral bacteria in your little one’s mouth. To help satisfy their sweet tooth without the dental consequences, pack fresh fruit instead. These are far less likely to stick to their teeth throughout the day and cause bacteria to accumulate. If they’re really craving something sweet that’s not fruit, try chocolate. This melts and washes from their mouth more easily.
Instead of Soda, Try Carbonated Water
Carbonated beverages aren’t generally the best choice for the enamel on your teeth, but if your son or daughter is craving something fizzy, try sparkling water instead of a sugary soda or sports drink. These contain citric acid and an unbelievable amount of sugar that commonly lead to cavities.
Limit Excessive Consumption of Citrus
Even though fruits are great for your little one, ones that contain natural acids, like lemons and oranges, can erode their tooth enamel over time. So, it’s best to limit how much of these they consume. Keep in mind that not all citrus fruits cause the same amount of damage, for example, grapefruits cause significantly more than oranges.
For Something Sweet, Try Sugar-Free Gum
If your child likes to occupy themselves with foods and snacks, try giving them sugar-free gum. It’s minty, sweet, and helps them produce more saliva to clear their mouth of sugars and carbohydrates that have built up throughout the day. This way, they’ll keep busy while neutralizing all the cavity-causing bacteria in their mouth.
Substitute the White Bread on the PB&J This Year
Carbohydrates are just as dangerous as sugars when it comes to your oral health. They mix with saliva to produce a sticky substance that gets trapped on the roof of your mouth and molars. When this happens, it can also attract sugar and bacteria to attach to it. Instead of white bread for your little one’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich, try whole grain. The consistency is grainier, making it less likely to attach itself to all the nooks and crannies of their mouth.
With these oral-health-positive substitutions for your child’s lunchbox, you’ll be able to look after their pearly whites without them even knowing! Making these small changes can have a huge impact on their long-term wellbeing, which is why they’ll thank you for it in the future!
About the Author
Dr. Angelica Rohner completed a two-year residency program in pediatric dentistry at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also trained in orthodontics as well. She is a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist as well as a Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She is passionate about caring for growing smiles and giving children the knowledge and dental care they need to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile into adulthood. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit her website or call 205-870-0892.
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