Nutrition

What snacks are best for my child’s oral health?

Read this guide to learn what snacks are best for your child's oral health

Sugary snacks taste good, but are often bad for your teeth and your body. Avoiding too much candy, cakes, cookies, and other sugary foods will keep children healthy and avoid cavities.

Consider how often your child is snacking. Nibbling on sugary snacks throughout the day will encourage damaging acids to form. These acids continue to affect your teeth for at least 20 minutes before they are neutralized. The more times you eat sugary snacks during the day, the more often you feed bacteria the fuel they need to cause tooth decay.

If your child eats sweets, it is best to eat them as dessert after a main meal instead of several times a day between meals. Try to avoid sticky, gooey snacks. Sticky snacks stay in your mouth longer than foods that you quickly chew and swallow.

Try to choose a non- sugary and low-fat options when snacking.

Can my child continue to drink juice?

Most juice is loaded with sugar and acids. Even the juice that claims, “no sugar added”, still has sugar. When you juice a fruit, all of the fiber is removed. You are left with a concentrated fructose. Just like refined sugar, fructose causes your child’s blood sugar levels to rise. Your child gets a burst of energy that triggers the body to store energy as fat. Not only is drinking too much juice linked to type II diabetes and other health concerns, it can cause early childhood caries. The acids and sugars combined in the juice create the perfect environment for cavities to flourish.

When your child is thirsty, try to stick to water and milk. Keep your children snacking on whole fruits and vegetables that are better for their systemic and oral health!

What about the nutritional value of juice?

Non-organic fruit juices are often irradiated to get rid of bacteria and make them last longer. Irradiation kills nutrients in food, and causes other health risks.

Don’t be fooled by Organic Juice! Even healthy juices are pasteurized, which heats the juice to a certain temperature that kills of the nutritious, beneficial properties like the vitamins.

Remember that manufactures are required to publish the nutrition of the juice on their label, but not their levels of acid. Consuming high levels of acid damages the teeth and has many other health concerns. Tooth enamel begins demineralize when acid levels drop below 5.5 on the pH scale. Most juice has a pH level of 2.7-3.8 while cola has a pH level of 2.5. These should be considered treats and consumed occasionally.

Does this mean my child can’t ever have juice?

No, not at all! Juice should be considered a treat for your children because in moderation, it is a harmless treat.

Tips to Help Prevent Tooth Decay

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