Did you know that a healthy diet is a big component in a good oral care routine? There are so many foods out there that can have negative effects on your child’s teeth like sticky foods or starchy snacks.
There are plenty of foods that prevent cavities, and it’s easy to incorporate them into your healthy school lunch ideas. Foods like cheese, fruits, and vegetables can brighten up your child’s lunchbox and, in conjunction with normal preventative dental services, bright up your child’s smile, too. For ideas on how to incorporate teeth-healthy foods into your child’s lunch, check out these tips.
Cheese is one of the best foods that prevent cavities. It lowers the pH in your mouth, which can in turn neutralize plaque acid and reduce the risk for tooth decay. Additionally, the amount of chewing it takes to consume cheese can help stimulate saliva production, which rinses the mouth of bacteria. Cheese also contains tooth-healthy nutrients like calcium and protein, which strengthen tooth enamel.
Cheese can fit into so many healthy school lunch ideas due to its versatility. Add a few slices of cheese to your child’s sandwich or turn it into a snack. On its own, cheese is an easy snack — you can give your child a small piece of cheese or string cheese along with their lunch. Cheese also pairs wonderfully with other tooth-healthy snacks like apples and carrots, so you can create a healthy snack medley for your child.
Like cheese, yogurt is high in both calcium and protein that help keep your child’s teeth strong. Yogurt also contains beneficial probiotics, which are good bacteria that helps keep bad bacteria out of your child’s mouth.
Since there are so many types of yogurt, it’s easy to find a variety that your child enjoys. Avoid types with added sugar, since sugar will just provide food for decay-causing bacteria. Instead, opt for yogurts with real fruit or Greek yogurt that’s high in tooth-healthy protein.
If your child still isn’t sold on yogurt, you can add in some extra elements to make it more exciting. Things like sliced almonds, fruit, or granola can make yogurt more texturally appealing to picky eaters.
Apples are high in fiber and water content. When your child eats an apple, it stimulates saliva production that can help rinse away bacteria. The fibrous texture of apples can also help stimulate the gums, making it a great snack to end the meal with.
If your child enjoys apples on their own, you can pack a whole apple or one cut into slices. Sliced apples also make great dippers for children who need a bit more encouragement to eat fruits. Apples and peanut butter are a classic combo that’s high in protein that can help keep your child’s enamel strong.
Leafy greens like spinach and kale often find themselves on all sorts of lists for healthy school lunch ideas, but they’re also one of the best foods to prevent cavities. Greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, but are low in calories. They have high amounts of calcium to help strengthen your child’s enamel and folic acid acid to help prevent gum disease.
For the more adventurous child, you can create colorful, healthy salads based around leafy greens. If your child is a bit more finicky about eating their vegetables, there are still ways to include leafy greens. Add a few leaves of spinach to their usual turkey sandwich — they’ll get all the benefits of extra vitamins, and chances are, they won’t even notice the added veggies.
Crunchy carrots are full of fiber and vitamin A. Like apples, carrots can help increase saliva production to clean the teeth.
To incorporate carrots into your child’s lunchbox, try topping a salad with sliced carrots. This is a great way to combine your carrots with your leafy greens! For a snack, pack baby carrots with a dip like hummus or salad dressing.
Like carrots and apples, celery is a food that prevents cavities by acting as a makeshift toothbrush that scrapes food debris from your child’s teeth. Celery is also a good source of vitamins A and C, which help strengthen your child’s gums.
On its own, celery has a reputation for being bland. A quick and easy way to spice up celery is to make ants on a log. To make ants on a log, cut some stalks of celery into about 3-inch long pieces. Fill the hollow part with the filling of your choice — common ones include cream cheese and peanut butter. Top the “logs” with raisins, and you have a quick and healthy school lunch idea.
Almonds should be on your radar for healthy school lunch ideas since they’re high in calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Nuts tend to be particularly versatile since you only need about a handful to get all of the nutritional benefits. If your child enjoys almonds on their own, just give them a handful to munch on at lunchtime.
Almonds are a great salad topper to go with your leafy greens. If your child doesn’t like salad, you can make a simple trail mix. Mix almonds with raisins and other dried fruits and nuts for a quick and healthy snack. Raisins have the added benefit of containing polyphenols and flavonoids, compounds that can help fight cavity-causing bacteria.
There are so many ways to incorporate foods that prevent cavities into your child’s school lunch. Since there are so many mouth-healthy foods, adding these foods to your child’s lunch routine should be no problem. In addition to packing nutritious meals, be sure to schedule regular dental checkups to make sure that your child’s teeth are in their best shape. Contact Children’s Dentistry at any one of our locations to make an appointment today.