We all want our kids to eat nutritious foods. The trouble is, many so-called “healthy” snacks are actually harmful to children’s teeth. It’s not that these foods are bad per se, yet it’s probably a wise idea to avoid packing them for lunches since they have the potential to cause tooth erosion and decay.
Here are some of the biggest snack offenders:
Whether homemade or store-bought, granola bars often contain artificial and natural sweeteners like honey to bind the mix together. Combined with dried fruits and chocolate or candy, granola bars tend to have incredibly high amounts of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay.
At face value, fruit may seem like a healthy choice. Although high in vitamins, citrus fruit is also high in acid, which can cause tooth enamel erosion. Instead of oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit, opt for apples, bananas, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
Juice and Soda
Juices and sodas of any kind should be avoided in favour of good old-fashioned water. The sugars and acids contained in juices (even the freshly squeezed variety) tend to sit on the teeth, potentially for hours, leading to decay. And flavoured water, with added sweeteners, is no better.
Not only does filtered water contain no sugar or calories, it acts as a great cleanser for your child’s teeth during and in between meals. We recommend keeping a thermos handy at all times.
At the risk of stating the obvious, candy is your teeth’s worst enemy. Hard candy, especially, is notorious for getting stuck in all the crevices and turning into plaque.
Even sugary cherry and honey-flavoured cough drops can linger on enamel.
Trail Mix and Fruit Snacks
Don’t be fooled by the name. Touted as a healthy and convenient snack, trail mixes is anything but, dried fruit like raisins and cranberries are twice as sugary their natural counterparts, and all that gooeyness is guaranteed to stick in teeth until the next brushing.
Although dried fruit may seem convenient, it does your child’s teeth and overall health no favours. Many manufactured fruit snacks and bars contain artificial flavourings and very little nutritional value.
Where possible, always opt for fresh whole fruits and vegetables like carrot sticks, apple slices, grapes and celery.
Realistically, we at Kids Dental Group know that kids will eat unhealthy snacks and drinks from time to time. So here are some ways to mitigate the impact of all that sugar and acid on their teeth:
- Consume sugary and acidic foods with a meal.
- Wait 20 minutes to brush teeth after eating acidic foods, as the acid will seep into your teeth.
- Ensure your child uses a toothpaste containing fluoride, which repairs enamel and lowers the risk of decay.