Many of our normal routines became obsolete after so much time spent having children partake in virtual learning or only attending in-person school part-time. Even the simplest tasks, like carpooling and packing a lunch, were eliminated as we navigated a new normal. Now, with many children now regularly attending in-person school, it’s time to return to our old routines. In an earlier blog, we focused on how you can help your child maintain good dental habits throughout the school year. One of the tips we provided in this blog was to pack a healthy lunch, but we wanted to take some time to help explain what really should be going in your child’s lunchbox. Here are some top food groups to include when packing a smile-healthy lunch:
Most of us know that leafy greens are good for our health, but you may be surprised to find that they are good for our teeth as well. In addition to containing tons of vitamins, many greens like spinach and kale also contain calcium that helps build enamel. While these vegetables may not be your child’s favorite, adding them to a wrap, sandwich or smoothie may get your child to eat them without them even noticing.
Carrots are crunchy and packed with fiber and an easy snack to pack in a lunchbox. Carrots are the perfect addition to a smile-healthy lunch because they help trigger saliva production that washes away bacteria from the teeth. When left raw, they can also provide a cleaning effect while chewing.
Celery is another example of a healthy, crunchy snack that can scrape away excess plaque and bacteria from the teeth. The high water content in celery also helps wash away bacteria and adds an extra boost of hydration.
When it comes to fruit, apples provide similar benefits as raw carrots and celery. Apples may help clean teeth when bitten into, and the fibrous texture of the apple stimulates the gum tissue, which helps keep the mouth protected. While fruit can be high in sugar and acidic, apples are key to a smile-healthy lunch because of the water and fiber they contain.
Almonds contain both protein and calcium, which are key players in keeping your teeth strong and healthy. Almonds are also naturally low in sugar when kept in their original form, so it’s important to choose regular almonds that have not been coated in salt or sugar in order to get all of the dental benefits.
Dairy contains high levels of calcium that is essential for strong bones and teeth. In particular, cheese helps to raise the pH level in the mouth, protecting it against more acidic foods and drinks and lowering the risk of tooth decay.
Similarly to cheese, yogurt contains calcium and protein, which strengthens enamel and contributes to good dental health overall. Yogurt is also known to contain probiotics that benefit many different systems in the body, including your gums. To achieve the most smile-healthy lunch, look for a type of yogurt that doesn’t have any added sugars that can undo these dental benefits.
A staple in the dairy category, milk has been long known to help build strong bones and teeth. Unlike acidic fruit juices that are full of added sugar, milk is a perfect beverage to add to your child’s lunchbox to support a healthy smile.
In addition to a lunchbox, sending your child to school with their own reusable water bottle. Having a water bottle with them throughout the day will encourage water consumption that will keep them hydrated, promote saliva production, and wash away decay-causing bacteria. Even just a swish of water after a meal can loosen up food particles and help keep a smile healthy until your child is able to brush their teeth at home.
Contact Ashley Dental Associates
At Ashley Dental Associates in North Charleston, we treat our patients like family. Not only are we here to make sure your teeth are healthy, but we also want to help you ensure the rest of your family has a healthy smile as well. If you have questions about dental hygiene habits or even dietary questions like how to pack a smile-healthy lunch, we can help answer all of your inquiries. You can talk to a staff member and schedule an appointment at Ashley Dental Associates by calling us at (843) 767-2600.