Sharpen your pencils – September means it’s time to go back to school! But what are you going to pack in your kiddo’s lunch box? At FDA, we’ve long shared how eating a healthy diet is an important part of your oral health regimen, and including healthy snacks in your child’s lunch is a great way to support their smile and their overall health. So, skip those starchy and sweet snacks and choose foods that are good for your kids’ teeth and body! Here are our top 5 healthy snack ideas for school lunches.
They say apples are nature’s toothbrush and we agree! Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, an apple a day is a great way to keep your kids healthy. Since apples are so crunchy, they stimulate the gums and encourage saliva production which helps wash away harmful bacteria. We’re lucky to live in Maine where there are oodles of apple varieties. An apple a day will help fight tooth decay!
Almonds and other nuts are full of health benefits. High in vitamin E, healthy fats, and tooth-strengthening calcium, almonds are a perfect snack to pack. Watch out for almonds coated in honey or sugar which can stick to the teeth and contribute to cavities. If your child has sensitive teeth, try almond slivers rather than whole almonds.
We love cheese! It’s high in calcium and a protein called casein which helps strengthen tooth enamel. Add to that cheese has phosphate which is pH-balancing for your mouth, protecting your teeth further. The only problem with cheese is deciding which variety is your favorite…cheddar? Gouda? Mozzarella string cheese? All of the above?
Crunchy vegetables are good for your body and good for your teeth and celery is a real rock star! First, they are full of almost a whole alphabet’s worth of vitamins, particularly vitamin A, C, and K. Also, all that chewing required to chomp a celery stalk cleans your teeth naturally and promotes saliva production to flush away bacteria. The fibrous texture of celery is great for your gums, too, making celery the closest thing to a vegetable dental floss. What’s not to love?!
Like its cousin, cheese, yogurt is full of calcium that helps strengthen your bones and teeth. Maintaining bone density is particularly important for growing kids. The probiotics in yogurt also help support oral health, helping to slow the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Be careful with some of the fruit-filled yogurts as they can have a surprising amount of added sugar. We like greek yogurt, which has the highest levels of protein…an extra boost to your kids’ health!
Add these items to your grocery list and you’ll be ready to pack your kids’ lunch full of healthy snacks! Also, don’t forget to also pack a reusable water bottle! It will not only help your child stay hydrated, but have the added bonus of rinsing their mouth of harmful bacteria. Eating a healthy diet is just one part of an A + oral health routine. Keep your kids brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.
If they’re due for a checkup with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos, or need a cleaning with one of our amazing hygienists, please give us a call today – 207.781.5900. We look forward to seeing you!