We all know that regular snacking on chocolate and sugary sweets is ill-advised, but did you know that when you snack is as important as what you snack on? Don’t miss these dentist tips for tooth-friendly snacks, as well as what to avoid!
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A healthy snack regime is an important part of every child’s diet, but is it possible to meet those endless snack demands and still protect their teeth?
“The problem with constant snacking is that it increases the amount of time sugars are sitting on our teeth, which adds to the likelihood of cavities and tooth decay,” explains Dr Jennifer Collins, lead general dentist at Northumberland Dental Care in Dublin, part of the Dental Care Ireland group.
“To protect teeth from long-term damage, it helps to be mindful of hidden sugars, as well as both the timing and frequency of snacks.”
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Tips for Tooth-Friendly Snacks
Balance and Variety
A tooth-friendly snack routine should include a balance of foods that are low in sugar and high in minerals such as calcium, phosphate and Vitamin D.
For healthy snack options which are kind to teeth, try cheese cubes, natural yoghurt, oatcakes, raw vegetables and fruits.
Offer Water or Milk
Ideally, opt for water or milk at snack times. Drinking water will help to dilute any acid attacks caused by sugary snacks.
Try to avoid fizzy drinks, diluted beverages and even fruit juices or smoothies, which can all be high in sugar and therefore impact on dental decay.
Try a Crunchy Bite
Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples and pears or carrot and celery sticks, will stimulate production of saliva, which helps to wash away any plaque. Raw fruits and vegetables are a natural abrasive that can help to keep children’s teeth clean.
Save Treats for Mealtimes
Rather than grazing on treats throughout the day, try to save sugary snacks, such as biscuits and chocolate, for after lunch or dinner. Saliva production increases during meals, which helps rinse away sugary food particles and can reduce the risk of cavities.
Avoid Lingering Snacks
The longer sugary food stays in your child’s mouth, the more damage it can cause to teeth. Avoid snacks that tend to linger, such as raisins and other dried fruit, which are both sticky and full of sugar.
Maintain a Routine
To help prevent long-term dental concerns, it is important for children to maintain a basic dental care routine at home. Despite the challenges of lockdown, try to ensure that they brush twice per day for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste appropriate to their age.
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Have your say! What tooth-friendly snacks does your family enjoy? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!