Discover tasty options that will satisfy your kids’ cravings while keeping their oral health on track over the summer.
The long, warm days of summer are here. Children are enjoying summer break, families are taking vacations, and routines often lose track. That’s OK! You can still continue proper oral care while enjoying the dog days of summer. When it’s hot outside, children often reach for juices, ice pops, and salty snacks to satisfy their cravings. Here are four of the best snack and drink choices for your teeth, and tips for preventing tooth decay.
- After running around outside, sweating, playing, and having fun, your child will be thirsty. A sugary sports drink or juice box sounds pretty good, huh? But all that added sugar isn’t the best for little ones. Water is always the best option. If your child really wants something extra, look for water-heavy juices, meaning they provide the flavor children want but without too much added sugar. As long as your child properly cleans their teeth each day, a juice here and there is OK for children older than 1. The key to drinking juice, sports drinks, and soda is moderation. Too much of these drinks can cause decay and cavities.
- During the summer months, you may hear the familiar sounds of the ice cream truck in your neighborhood. Your child may want an ice pop, gummy bears, or caramel chocolate bar. The healthiest option is a dark chocolate bar. It contains antioxidants and can still provide that sweet satisfaction many kids crave.Sticky candy stays on teeth longer, allowing more tooth decay-causing bacteria to feed on the sugar and multiply. If you don’t properly clean your teeth each day, that bacteria can lead to cavities and other oral health problems. If your child eats sticky candy, provide them with water to drink afterward to flush out as much of the sugar as possible. Or, clean their teeth right away to remove any bits of candy stuck in between.
- Children often like a salty snack, especially after running around and playing in the heat. Whole-grain crackers and pretzels are the best option. They contain less starch than potato chips and other common snacks. Starch and sticky foods stick to your teeth and become an energy source for bad bacteria, so it’s best to consume them in moderation.
- Fruit gummies have become a popular snack option for children lately. They’re easy and convenient to take on the go. They’re also full of extra sugar and preservatives. A better choice is good old-fashioned fruit. It’s a healthier option and contains less sugar. It usually costs less money as well.
Making healthy food and drink choices is beneficial to the health of your child’s body and their oral health. It’s OK to allow your children treats. Just remember to properly clean their teeth every day. Spending 7-10 minutes once a day can make a big difference in their oral hygiene and help them avoid future health complications linked to poor oral health.