Why Is Healthy Snacking Important To Your Child’s Dental Well-Being?

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Our children need to eat healthy, balanced, and nutritious meals every day. However, some parents sometimes do not pay much attention to their kids’ snacks in-between meals, perhaps because we are busy or simply want to give in to what our kids want. But truth be told,  your child’s snacking habit may be causing harm to him or her more than you know.

Aside from the negative medical effects of unhealthy snacking, we are also subjecting our kids to potential dental problems if we do not properly supervise the snacks that they have daily. A well-timed healthy snack that is nutritious and low in sugar is important in maintaining those beautiful smiles and pearly whites.

While we find simple joy whenever our kids eat, letting them have frequent snacks makes it easier for cavity-causing bacteria to grow in their mouth and eventually, get infected with tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that we limit our kids’ snacks throughout the day to prevent cavities and protect the teeth. Do you know that the foods that our kids eat during meals cause less harm to their teeth than having several snacks during the day? That is because more saliva is released during meals which helps wash away food particles and reduces the effects of harmful sugars and acids.

Let us also make a conscious effort in protecting our children’s teeth from snacks or food in general that are not beneficial and not nutritious. Sugary treats like soda or juices, candies, and pastries are foods that are high in sugar and should be limited. Meanwhile, some of these sweet treats like chips and baked goods are also starchy foods that are considered high in carbohydrates. As we know, carbohydrates can be easily broken down into sugar. And unfortunately, a high-sugar, high-starch snack will increase the chances for harmful bacteria to flourish in your child’s teeth and mouth. These unwanted bacteria use the broken-down sugars to form acids which then attack the tooth enamel, eventually damaging your child’s teeth. More so, this kind of food tends to get stuck in the grooves and in between teeth.

Whenever your kids eat their snacks, give them something more healthy such as fruits, vegetables, or cheese. While this kind of food still contains sugar, they are the healthier options when you are looking for tasty snacks for your kids. You can give your kids some low-sodium crackers with crunchy veggies and dip such as celery and carrot sticks with cream cheese or hummus. Some snacks that you can give are low-fat yogurt or milk with diced fruits, whole-grain bread with cheese, or a homemade low-sugar muffin with a side of fruit slices. They can also snack on some edamame beans, peas, and other toasted nuts. There are plenty of tasty yet healthy snack options available. Drinking lots of water after every snack will also help wash away food remnants in the mouth.

We strongly encourage parents to make wise food choices for their kids and as a part of daily dental care as well. As a parent, be an example too to your child when it comes to healthy eating. Setting an example by eating healthy can make a huge impact on your family’s health. Do not forget too, as a family, to brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes at a time, and clean between your teeth by flossing at least once a day. Make it a family habit. Lastly, bring your child to his or her dentist for regular check-ups and preventive dental care. Given all these, you will be assured that you are helping your child achieve the best oral health that will last a lifetime.

Sources:

Tasty Dental Care For Kids: Seven Healthy Snacks For Healthy Teeth, Colgate Https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/tasty-dental-care-for-kids-seven-healthy-snacks-for-healthy-teeth-1013

Healthy Snacks for Teeth, KFL&A Public Health https://www.kflaph.ca/en/healthy-living/healthy-snacks-for-teeth.aspx

6 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Sugary Snacking, MouthHealthy By American Dental Association https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/child-snacking-tips

The best snacks for healthy teeth, Patient.com https://patient.info/news-and-features/healthy-snacks-that-wont-wreck-your-teeth

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