Tooth Friendly Snacks
Kids Dentist, Dr. Ari Hobfoll
Tooth friendly snacks for your kiddo
Kids love to snack, and snacks are an important part of your child’s development. However, it can be difficult to determine what snacks are best and what snacks could have negative effects on their dental health.
Today on the blog, Dr. Hobfoll, shares teeth-healthy snacks for your kids, the importance of healthy snacks for dental and overall health, and some other helpful tips.
Fun and Healthy Snack Ideas
There are lots of ways to spice up healthy foods to make them more enticing for kids. Here are some ideas for teeth-healthy snacks:
Skewer pieces of various fruits like grapes, strawberries, and melons. It’s fun to eat and full of vitamins.
Veggie Sticks with Hummus
Slice carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers into sticks and serve with a side of hummus for dipping.
Yogurt and Berries
Mix fresh berries into plain yogurt. For added flavor, you can drizzle a little honey on top.
Whole Grain Crackers with Cheese
Pair whole grain crackers with slices of cheese for a snack that’s rich in calcium and fiber.
Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Cut apples into slices and serve with a side of peanut butter for dipping. It’s a great combination of sweet and savory.
Frozen Yogurt Drops
Drop small spoonfuls of yogurt onto a baking sheet and freeze. They turn into bite-sized frozen yogurt treats.
Rice Cakes with Avocado or Cottage Cheese
Spread avocado or cottage cheese on rice cakes and sprinkle a little salt for a healthy and satisfying snack.
Frozen Banana Pops
Dip bananas in yogurt, roll them in granola or nuts, and then freeze them for a cool treat.
Make oatmeal cookies using whole oats, and bananas. These can be premade and serve as a quick and delicious afternoon snack.
Blend together a mix of fruits like bananas, berries, and spinach with yogurt or almond milk for a nutritious smoothie. You could also add cocoa powder to make it a “milkshake.”
Another important topic to discuss when learning about the best snacks for kids is the idea of smart snacking. Smart snacking entails both strategic snack-time planning and the selection of certain foods. Both can help reduce the likelihood of tooth decay.
Bacteria that cause oral cavities feed on every carbohydrate source we consume, including sugar, bread, potatoes, rice, crackers, chips, pretzels, candies, fruit snacks, juice, and so on. Bacteria consume carbs and turn them into acid. This acid can cause cavities.
When we eat we stimulate saliva to produce which helps to neutralize the acid’s effects. However, if children nibble throughout the day, the constant acid production overwhelms the saliva’s ability to buffer or neutralize the acid, increasing the likelihood of cavities developing.
Snacking windows should be set to the mid-morning and mid-afternoon in between meals. These snacks should include two or more food groups. An easy way to do this is to include a fruit or vegetable, along with protein or a healthy fat. Your protein and fat could be cheese, avocado, yogurt, beans, etc. You can also include healthy carbs in the form of whole-grain crackers, pita, toast etc.
Why Are Healthy Snacks Important for Kids?
Preventing Tooth Decay
Many healthy snacks, especially whole foods like fruits and vegetables, contain less sugar compared to processed snacks. Lower sugar intake is crucial because sugar is a primary food source for the bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay. These bacteria produce acids as they digest sugar, which can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
Nutrition and Development
Children are in a crucial stage of growth and development, so they need a steady supply of nutrients to support this process. Healthy snacks, particularly those low in sugar and acid, can reduce the risk of tooth decay and promote stronger, more healthy teeth. Healthy foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are vital for their physical, cognitive, and oral development.
Energy and Focus
Kids are usually very active and burn a lot of energy throughout the day. Healthy snacks can provide a much-needed energy boost between meals to maintain their concentration in school and during other activities.
Healthy Eating Habits
Introducing healthy snacks at a young age helps establish good eating habits. Children who are accustomed to eating fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options are more likely to continue these habits into adulthood.
Encouraging Good Hydration
Healthy snacking often goes hand-in-hand with good hydration practices. Water helps rinse away food particles and dilutes the acids produced by oral bacteria, further protecting your child’s teeth from decay.
Physical Cleaning of Teeth
Certain snacks, like crunchy vegetables and fruits (e.g., apples, carrots, celery), have a natural abrasive quality that can help clean the surfaces of your kid’s teeth, removing plaque, food particles and promoting healthy teeth.
What Else Should You Think About When Arranging Snacks?
Hard, crunchy foods like granola and trail mix are classified differently from candy bars, and sticky dried fruit treats. In addition, granola and trail mix can quickly become lodged in the grooves of the teeth.
Juice, sports drinks, and soda should be consumed in moderation. Anything other than water (including milk) contains sugars and can cause cavities. If children consume beverages other than water, they should adhere to the same guidelines as snack food: drink in one sitting and limit the number of drinks consumed.
“Limiting chewy and sticky foods can help with your child’s oral health. These foods can become lodged in the grooves of the back teeth and remain there for extended periods, increasing the risk of cavities.” – Dr. Hobfoll, kids dentist in Murray Utah
Contact Kaleidoscope Kids Dentistry Today
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Salt Lake City, contact us at Kaleidoscope Kids Dentistry today! Our goal is to not only make sure your child has a healthy smile but to also promote dental education and healthy habits that will set your child up for a lifetime of good dental health.