Summer is here, the kids are out of school, and—as usual—they’re hungry. While it’s easy to cave in to those sugary cravings and processed foods when you’re on the go during the busy summer months, these convenient, pre-packaged options can have long-lasting damage on your child’s teeth. Therefore, it’s always better to plan ahead and keep some packable, healthy snacks on hand. Dr. Bowen recommends these simple, pack-ahead alternatives to the sugary and processed snacks that stock our supermarket shelves:
- Cheese sticks. A great source of calcium and protein, hard cheeses actually lower the acidity level of the mouth, promoting oral hygiene. Plus, you can’t beat the convenient packaging!
- Apples and celery. These crunchy, fiber-rich snacks are easy to throw in a lunch bag or cooler. And, because of their crunchy quality, they can actually help to scrub away plaque from teeth! When paired with peanut butter, these two options can also serve as a protein source. However, you should always check the label to make sure that your peanut butter of choice is free of high fructose corn syrup or other additives that can damage your child’s dental health.
- Yogurt. Full of calcium, phosphates, probiotics, and vitamin D, yogurt is great for your overall health as well as your oral health. Plenty of brands carry drinkable or squeezable options, making them an easy grab-and-go snack. However, you want to check and make sure that your go-to yogurt isn’t full of added sugars.
- Kiwi and strawberries. These two delicious fruits are a great alternative to sugary desserts! High in vitamin C, these fruits can help to strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation, promoting healthy gums.
- Reusable water bottles. Hydration is key to maintaining a healthy mouth! Drinking water helps to wash away leftover food debris in the mouth, keeping your teeth clean. It’s always better to think ahead and pack your water from home, as tap water is more likely to contain fluoride than your average bottled water.
While you’re on the go—and hopefully munching on some tasty and tooth-strengthening snacks—make sure that you enjoy some time in the sunlight! The sun is our best natural source of vitamin D, which is vital for your oral health since it allows the body to absorb calcium. So, make sure you lather up in some sunscreen and enjoy the summer!
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