Along with no school, longer days, and more outdoor activities, summertime also brings changes in eating habits. Lighter meals and more snacking necessitate different nutritional choices making it even more important to stock pantries and refrigerators with plenty of healthy snacks. Many summertime treats and snacks have high sugar or acid content, which can be detrimental to the oral health of both children and adults. Here are the best snacks for your child’s oral health:
One of the best things about summertime is the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. In addition to being a cool refreshing treat, many fruits and vegetables are also rich in antioxidants and other vitamins. These properties can help protect gums and tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection, promoting better oral health.
While there is no substitute for good oral hygiene, the fibrous texture of apples and vegetables such as carrots, and celery can help to stimulate the gums and clean your teeth, reducing bacteria in the mouth. These types of fruits and vegetables also increase the production of saliva, helping to wash away food particles and neutralizing acids that can lead to tooth decay.
Vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, kale, and other leafy greens have loads of vitamins and minerals to help maintain oral health. Leafy greens contain vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and beta carotene, all vital for teeth and gums.
While sugary snacks are attractive year-round, summertime offers extra temptations which can lead to dental decay. Candies, pastries, cake, and ice cream are okay in moderation, but these treats also stimulate bacterial growth in the mouth. One way to limit the effects of sugary, carbohydrate-rich or acidic foods is to minimize the exposure time of teeth to these foods. Limit snacking during the day to healthy foods and save the sugary treats for mealtime. Larger meals cause increased production of saliva to aid in digestion and also washing away more food and neutralizing harmful acids before they can do damage.
The healthiest drink for summer or any time of year is water. Kids and adults should drink plenty of water on a hot summer day to maintain body hydration, but water also promotes good oral health. Fresh cold water, including naturally flavored water, keeps the mouth clean, washing away food particles, producing saliva, and neutralizing acids.
Many of the drinks marketed towards children and young adults are not healthy beverages. Most fruit juices are high in sugar and can also be very acidic. Sticky sweet refreshments such as soda are high in sugar, corn syrup, and other chemicals. Energy drinks are increasingly popular even with teens and young adults, but in addition to the high levels of caffeine they contain, they also are high in sugar and other chemicals. At iSmile Dental Group, we make educating our clients about healthy nutritional choices a priority. Now that you know some of the best drinks and snacks for your child’s oral health, you will be able to keep your children’s mouth and teeth healthy while teaching them to make healthy choices this summer. To learn more about healthy nutritional habits for good oral health or anything else contact us today.
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