Many Hendricks County kids hate to eat school cafeteria lunches. So what’s a parent to do to make sure their child eats during the school day? Pack your son or daughter a “brown-bag” lunch. But not just any packed lunch will do. It’s important to make sure your child is eating a nutritious lunch filled with tooth-friendly foods to help build strong teeth and healthy gums.
It’s great that many schools have quit selling sugary, starchy foods and drinks that can cause tooth decay. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop parents (or kids) from packing these unhealthy food choices into school lunches. At Danville Family Dentistry, we’re not saying Hendricks County kids can’t have potato chips, cookies, candy and soft drinks – but moderation is the key. When your child eats these sugary, starchy foods on a daily basis, it can increase their risk of getting cavities.
By packing healthy, delicious, tooth-friendly foods and drinks in your child’s lunch, you can teach children to make wise food choices on their own. But do you know what foods are healthy for your child’s teeth?
Here are some tooth-friendly school lunch suggestions:
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables (which can be cut into interesting shapes to make them fun to eat). Fruits and veggies like carrots, celery, apples and pears require a lot of chewing which increases saliva production to neutralize bacteria in the mouth. Plus, the crisp texture helps clear away plaque-producing bacteria.
- Fruits rich in vitamin C. Research shows that people who eat less than the recommended daily dose of vitamin C (75 to 90 mg) are 25% more likely to develop gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis causes the gums to become inflamed, swell and bleed. Pack an orange, tangerine or kiwi in your child’s lunch to help them get their daily dose of vitamin C.
- Calcium-rich dairy products. Foods and beverages like cheese, yogurt and milk help build strong teeth and reduce your child’s risk of gum disease. Also, studies show cheddar cheese and milk help neutralize acid produced by plaque-forming bacteria.
- Water. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water after eating. Water helps rinse away bacteria and food remnants in the mouth to keep it clean. Plus water keeps the mouth moist to prevent bad breath.
Remember: Packing a tooth-friendly school lunch is just one way to help keep your child from getting tooth decay. Make sure your child doesn’t slack on brushing their teeth at least twice a day and flossing, especially at bedtime. And don’t forget to book your child’s dental checkup at Danville Family Dentistry (located in Hendricks County) every six months.