3 Supposedly Healthy Snacks That Damage Teeth

3 Supposedly Healthy Snacks That Damage Teeth
Posted on 11/10/2016

As a parent, you naturally want your children to stay strong and healthy. You know that your children need a nutritious diet so their little bodies have the vitamins and minerals necessary for growth.

But ensuring your children eat the right foods is often easier said than done. Products advertised as healthy may have more calories and fat than you anticipated. And snacks that seem safe for young ones can negatively affect their teeth.

The following foods might look like good choices for your kids, but serve these snacks with a large dose of caution. If you don't take care, these items could increase the likelihood of cavities and chipping.

1. Trail Mix

When you and your family are on the go, trail mix can keep those small tummies full and happy for the duration of your trip. Nuts and seeds offer plenty of protein to keep your children energized, and they also contain minerals such as potassium, calcium, and zinc, which contribute to healthy teeth and gums.

But some trail mixes also feature dried fruit to make the blend more palatable. Dried fruit will stick to your children's teeth and slowly release sugars throughout the day. The longer the sugars stay on your kids' teeth, the greater the risk of tooth decay.

 

Furthermore, whole, shelled nuts often prove difficult to open, even for adult teeth. If your children try to bite, chomp, or gnaw their way past the shell, they may crack or dislodge a tooth.

To keep teeth safe, choose pre-shelled nut and seed mixes. If your children need a little more flavor, add a few dark chocolate chips to the blend, as dark chocolate contains polyphenols that fight harmful bacteria.

2. Canned Fruit and Fruit Cups

Doctors, dieticians, and nutritionists highly recommend fruit as part of a healthy diet. Your children should definitely enjoy a variety of apples, pears, peaches, pineapples, and any other fruit you see fit to feed them. Among other nutrients, fruits supply healthy amounts of vitamin C, which fights inflammation and reduces the likelihood of gingivitis.

Canned fruits and fruit cups give you the chance to feed your children the fruits they need to remain healthy in easy-to-manage portion sizes. If you need to pack a quick lunch, a fruit cup will fit in nicely alongside a sandwich or last night's leftovers.

However, you should take a few moments to read the label before you serve up the snack. Many canned fruits and fruit cups store the fruit in fruit-flavored syrups. These syrups extend the shelf life of the fruit, but they also add unnecessary amounts of harmful sugars. Additionally, the preservation process often involves cooking the fruit to kill bacteria, and the extra heat destroys many of the nutrients that would have benefited your child.

Ideally, you should serve your child fresh fruits with each meal, as the extra fiber will help scrub away lingering food particles and stimulate saliva production. But if you need a can or cup option for traveling, look for products that store fruit in 100% juice rather than syrup.

3. Granola Bars

Granola bars rank high on the list of easy-to-grab snacks. Small, portable, and mess-free, granola bars fit well in a purse or backpack, and they can give your kids a quick boost in energy both on the field and in the classroom.

But some granola bars are little more than glorified candy bars. Some brands include pieces of dried fruit (much like trail mix), and others offer bars dipped in chocolate or yogurt. Many granola bars rely on high fructose corn syrup to give them their flavor and shape, and the excess sugar will definitely wreak havoc on your children's teeth.

If you choose store-bought granola bars, you'll need to read the label carefully before giving the snacks to your children. Look for granola bars that have a short ingredient list (with ingredients you recognize, such as oats, honey, and whole wheat flour). Pick options that limit calories, fats, and sugars, while providing plenty of protein and fiber to keep your children full.

If you want an even healthier, tooth-friendly option, consider making your own granola bars at home. You can throw in some sunflower seeds and sliced almonds for a little extra fiber, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Talk to Your Dentist About Healthier Options

Your children don't have to compromise their oral health to enjoy nutrient-dense snacks and treats throughout the day. With a little extra research on your part, you can avoid unnecessary sugars and reduce the risk of cavities in your children.

However, if you don't feel confident sorting the good foods from the bad, feel free to reach out your children's dentist. A reliable children's dentist will do more than clean teeth and fill cavities. In fact, many dentists will gladly teach you about dental health and ways to maintain a beautiful smile.

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Dentistry for Children & Adolescents

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