When it comes to packing your child’s school lunches, you may be reaching for what you think is healthy. Or you may be hurriedly throwing items into a bag in the hopes that you simply get them to school on time with something (anything) to eat. It’s also possible that your child tends to buy their meals at school. No matter how it happens, the foods your child ingests not only impact their overall health but also their smiles. If you want to minimize the potential for cavities throughout the year, read on to learn which items they should be eating to keep their teeth free of decay.
The Importance of Your Child’s School Lunch
It might not seem like a big deal when picking out which foods your child should eat for lunch, especially when they’re likely to swap with friends or burn off whatever calories they consume while running for P.E. or playing tag at recess. But the truth is that this mid-day meal should be just as nutritious as breakfast and dinner. Not only do they need fuel to get them through the rest of the afternoon, but they need nutrients that will positively impact their body and mouth.
Packing or allowing them to choose foods that contain high amounts of sugar and starch might make them happy, but before long, they’ll experience a crash that leaves them hungry, tired, and unhealthy. And when it comes to their smile, their teeth will be even more susceptible to decay because of the way bacteria adheres to sugars and carbs. Creating high levels of acidity in the mouth, these particles began to break down tooth enamel, creating cavities over time.
As a result, not only will your child complain of toothaches and sensitivity, but they’ll be more likely to miss school because of emergency dentist appointments.
Healthy Foods That Lead to Cavity-Free Smiles
So, which foods should you be packing or reminding your child to reach for when going through the school lunch line? A pediatric dentist recommends the following:
- Fresh fruits instead of canned varieties. The canned versions often contain lots of added sugars and acids, both of which can eat away tooth enamel.
- Fresh vegetables, as these act like natural toothbrushes, cleaning away bacteria and food particles that might try to adhere to teeth.
- Water instead of juice boxes or sodas. Water not only hydrates but also flushes out harmful particles to minimize the potential of cavities.
- Whole-grain bread that contains more rich nutrients and combining it with all-natural peanut butter and apple slices or bananas.
- Yogurt because of the good calcium found in it.
- Nuts, like almonds or cashews.
- Vegetable soup.
While your child may be wishing their lunches contained chips, cookies, and plenty of other processed foods, making sure they’re eating healthy throughout the day, as well as making sure they see their pediatric dentist regularly will keep their smiles looking and feeling good year-round.
About the Author
At Brush Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Mira Albert leads a team of pediatric dentists who make it possible for little ones to achieve healthier smiles. Offering a fun and exciting environment filled with kid-friendly amenities, we believe in helping children become enthusiastic about oral hygiene while keeping parents informed of ways they can work to improve and help their children maintain healthier teeth and gums even while at school. If you are looking for ways to build better nutritional habits with your child, contact us at (630) 504-2223.