September 22, 2020
Are you ready from some unnerving numbers? A whopping 28% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 have at least one cavity. Plus, 20% of children between 5 and 11 and 13% between 12 and 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Yikes! While you may initially think a lack of brushing and flossing is to blame, the culprit may be their school lunches. Read on for five cavity-causing foods, healthy alternatives, and tips for keeping their oral health in tip-top shape.
5 Cavity-Causing Foods to Avoid At All Costs
For decades, dentists across the U.S. have warned the public against foods and beverages that are high in sugar, like soda and candy. However, other cavity-causing snacks are equally as damaging and are often found in standard school lunches. To protect your child’s teeth, avoid filling their lunch box with items like:
- Chocolate milk.
- Energy or sports drinks.
- Canned fruit or fruit snacks.
- Juice boxes.
- Potato chips.
Foods Your Child’s Teeth Will Love
To ensure your child’s teeth and gums remain healthy, it is important to view their diet as a crucial part of their oral hygiene routine. Therefore, make sure to pack their lunch with vitamin-rich vegetables like carrots and celery, which also act as a natural toothbrush at the end of their meal. Other foods that are nutritious and delicious include yogurt, whole grains, and fresh fruit. To wash it down, opt for a low-sugar option or regular water.
Additional Tips for Keeping Their Oral Health in Tip-Top Shape
Packing your child’s lunch with healthy, cavity-fighting foods is the first step. However, there are a few additional measures you can take to protect their teeth and gums from dental issues, like decay and infections. For example, you may want to talk to your dentist about packing a toothbrush in their backpack and having your child brush after their lunch break. If this isn’t possible, then chewing on some sugar-free gum can help encourage saliva production and remove food particles.
To protect your favorite smile, it is important to fill their lunch with nutrient-dense, vitamin-rich foods both in and out of your home. Between these measures, their daily oral hygiene routine, and their regular appointments with their dentist, they’ll have healthy teeth and gums for years to come!
About the Author
After earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the Oklahoma University College of Dentistry, Dr. Steven Kendrick continued his studies at the Misch International Implant Institute. Today, he is a member of multiple reputable organizations, including the American Dental Association, and serves as a visiting faculty member for Spear Education. If you would like to schedule your child’s biannual appointment or speak with Dr. Kendrick about improving their oral health, visit his website or give him a call at 405-732-0431.
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