Your child snacked their way through summer, and now they’re back in school. Unfortunately, many traditional school snacks offer little to no nutritional value. Empty calories don’t fill hungry bellies, and they can harm your child’s smile. Let’s explore some good school snacks for kids’ teeth to fight hunger and tooth decay.
Protect Your Child’s Smile with These Healthy School Snacks
The USDA has created a set of nutritional standards known as Smart Snacks in School. This dictates what types of food can be sold in vending machines and other facilities during the school day, but it also acts as a guideline for general school snacking.
We want to take this concept one step further by highlighting snacks that are good for oral health. Some nutritious snacks that are good for the body aren’t necessarily good for teeth. Our goal is to help you equip your child for premium oral health.
Here are some healthy school snacks for child smiles:
- Yogurt, cheese, and dairy products – These calcium-rich foods are excellent for oral health. They promote strong teeth and jawbones, and the probiotics in yogurt are great for the gums. Many yogurts for kids have added sugar, so be leery with the products you choose. Plain yogurt or yogurt with real fruit are the best options.
- Eggs – Eggs are full of great vitamins and protein. If your kid loves hard-boiled eggs, this could be an excellent school snack. Add some nuts and cheese cubes into the mix if your child likes variety.
- Apples and celery – The fibers in apples and celery naturally clean your child’s teeth. Both of these taste great with peanut butter, which can boost protein and provide a more filling snack. Make sure to cut the apple to avoid putting excess strain on your child’s front teeth.
- Broccoli, carrots, and leafy vegetables – Most green vegetables are full of minerals to help your child’s smile. If your child doesn’t like these foods on their own, you could provide a healthy dip like hummus for extra incentive. Carrots contain Vitamin A, which is great for building up your child’s enamel. Test different veggies to see what your child likes best.
School Snacks to Avoid
When you select school snacks for kids, focus on nutritional value. Does the snack offer vitamins, protein, or fiber? Or is it mostly sugar and fat? The sugary snacks are what you want to avoid. Bacteria feed on sugar, which leads to cavities and tooth decay.
Chips, candies, cookies, sodas, and “junk food” are all potentially damaging to pediatric oral health. These foods are OK in small spurts, but they should not be part of your child’s daily diet. Find healthy alternatives to your child’s favorite treats. Example: If they like gummy worms, try organic fruit snacks instead.
Beware of sticky snacks, like caramel, Starburst, and Jolly Ranchers. These candies are difficult to brush off, and they can yank on your child’s teeth. Stick to the fibrous options like apple and celery because those snacks promote oral hygiene.
Oral Care Tips for Children – How to Prevent Cavities
Pediatric oral health is a multi-step process. It’s not just about eating well. It also requires routine oral care.
Make sure your child brushes twice a day and flosses once per day. This should be a fun experience that encourages future habits. We have tons of pediatric dentistry tips on the Clinton Dental Center Blog, including How to Choose the Right Kid’s Toothbrush and How to Make Teeth Brushing Fun for Kids.
For personalized tips and ongoing oral care, reach out to our pediatric dentist’s office in Chesterfield MI. Clinton Dental Center is located at:
Clinton Dental Center
50475 Gratiot Ave. – Suite 4
Chesterfield, MI 48051
Call (586) 949-5363 to schedule a child dentist appointment.