It’s that time of year again, when moms and dads are packing their kids’ lunches for school. Did you know what your child eats affects their teeth and gums? For example, hard candies and lollipops expose teeth to excess sugar and can chip or break teeth. Sticky foods like gummy candy and dried fruit cover teeth with sugar and stick to teeth for longer than other foods. Even healthy fare like oranges and grapefruit can damage teeth. That’s because citric acid can erode tooth enamel over time.
What’s a parent to do? Pack a healthy punch for lunch with these 5 foods:
- Give apples an A+. Apples act like “natural toothbrushes,” clearing plaque from your child’s teeth and freshening breath. Other plaque scrubbers include pears, carrots and celery. They all stimulate saliva production, which washes away bacteria and bits of food.
- Keep kiwis on hand. These little green superstars are packed with vitamin C, an essential vitamin for gum health. Vitamin C works by strengthening the collagen in gums, helping to prevent periodontal problems.
- Say “cheese.“ Add cubes of cheese or string cheese to your kid’s lunches. The high amounts of calcium support tooth enamel. So do milk, plain yogurt and calcium-fortified tofu.
- Pack in the protein. Foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk, sugar-free ice cream and eggs provide phosphorus, which protects and rebuilds tooth enamel. For a non-meat option, pack a handful of almonds. They’re rich in protein and calcium, and low in sugar.
- Go green. A salad made with leafy greens like kale or spinach delivers plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants — all of which provide health benefits to teeth and gums.
In addition to these foods, make sure your child drinks plenty of fluoridated water. And remember to bring your child in for a check up twice a year. We’re here to make sure your child has healthy teeth for a lifetime.