Eating the right foods can help ensure your child has a healthy mouth AND a healthy body. It is important that you give your kids healthy snacks. Instead of junk food, crackers, or cereal, keep these foods on hand so your child can snack on them often:
- Fruits and vegetables, especially apples
- Sugarless gum
Why are these foods so great?
Follow these tips to keep your child’s mouth in top shape:
- When your child does not have a chance to brush, offer sugar-free gum to chew for 5 minutes.
- Veggies and cheese are great snacks that do not cause cavities.
- If your child eats snacks that are high in sugar or carbohydrates that turn into sugar, like chips, crackers, and cereals, give your child a piece of cheese, vegetables, or an apple afterwards if they can’t brush right way.
- Keep juice to a minimum. If your child must have a sugary beverage, water it down with a meal and stick to water in between meals. Even no-sugar-added juices and milk have sugar! But water from the tap contains fluoride in most areas, so it is best for your mouth.
- Save soda for special treats only since it is very high in sugar (Even diet sodas can harm our teeth!).
- A whole apple contains 13 grams of natural sugars, while no-sugar-added juice contains almost twice as much sugar. Choosing to eat the actual fruit instead of the juice is always the best option.
- Only consume milk with meals because it contains a lot of natural sugars as well. Chocolate milk should be saved as a special treat only.
- Make sure the last thing your child does before going to sleep is brush their teeth. After brushing, your child should only consume water so that the teeth do not bathe in sugars while they sleep.
- If your child is using a bottle for feeding, try to wean them off by the age of 18 months. The bottle should contain only water except for three feedings per day. Try to rinse your child’s mouth with water after feedings even if they fall asleep. If your child uses a pacifier, it is best to try to break this habit around age 3.