Healthy teeth are essential to the wellbeing of our children. Aside from brushing, flossing and regular checkups and cleans, we can keep our kids’ teeth strong by ensuring they eat the right foods, even when at school.
The Dangers of Sugary Foods
Despite their popularity, many snack foods often contain unhealthy amounts of sugar. These include foods like:
- Biscuits & cookies
- Lollies & chocolate
- Fizzy drinks or high-sugar juices/cordials
- Sugar-based snacks, like ‘roll ups’
- Sticky foods, like muesli and cereal bars, that stick to the teeth
Sugar creates growing conditions for bacteria, which can soften tooth enamel and cause many teeth problems, including cavities and decay. Of course, this can lead to more trips to the family dentist, which can also become costly.
Teeth-Friendly Lunch Ideas
When it comes to filling your child’s lunchbox, you should stay away from sugary foods as much as possible and instead substitute these with healthy lunches and snacks.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide children with essential vitamins and minerals – and they are also good for teeth. To help the generation of saliva, which neutralises harmful acids in the mouth, pack pieces of water-based fruits and veggies (like pears, melons, cucumbers) in your kids’ lunchboxes.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables (like apples, celery and carrots) are also good to include, while oranges and kiwi fruits are great for Vitamin C, which contributes to healthy gums.
Calcium is extremely important for healthy teeth and bones in children and so dairy foods are excellent for your kids’ lunches. Plain milk, cheese and yoghurt are good choices and many of these are available in fun, small-size packs from the supermarket. If you go for yoghurt, make sure it is low in fat and sugar.
Many protein-based foods are high in Vitamin D, which assists the body in both absorbing protein and calcium and hardening teeth enamel. In addition to dairy, be sure to include foods like fish, meat and eggs in your child’s lunches, whether in a sandwich or on their own.
Water is considered the healthiest thirst-quencher for kids. Tap water, which often contains fluoride, is ideal for your children’s teeth – and it’s also incredibly cost effective.
In general, try to discourage your child from drinking soft drinks, cordials, sports drinks or juices that contain lots of sugar. Giving your child a bottle of water, as well as some milk, to drink at school can be a great idea and it means they get a little bit of variety in their lunchbox.
Other Toothy Lunchbox Ideas
- Get creative with your kids’ lunches! Try things like baked beans, soups, rice, pasta, corn on the cob, meat kebabs or even healthy pizza slices
- Make sure your kids’ lunchboxes contain a balance of each of the food groups and be wary of including too much of one thing
- When making sandwiches, use brown or grained bread, rather than plain white; this is much healthier and is good for teeth too
- If your kid doesn’t like eating vegetables on their own, try including them on a sandwich instead; tomatoes, lettuce and thinly sliced or grated vegetables can be lots of fun to eat
- Green leafed vegetables, like spinach and Chinese cabbage, are great in sandwiches and other dishes too and are also high in calcium
- If you want to give your child sugary treats, encourage them to eat these after their sandwich or main lunch meal; since the mouth produces saliva during meals, it will help to neutralise acid production from the sweets
At Somerset Dental Care, we specialise in kids’ dentistry. We can ensure your children feel comfortable and easy during dentist visits. To book, contact our friendly dentists in Campbelltown, Harrington Park or Picton.