Maintaining a healthy smile starts with the food we put into our bodies at each meal. Kids may think that candy, chips and soda are great. These kinds of foods, however, leave residue behind that form harmful plaque on your child’s teeth.
Smart snacks will help with your child’s overall health as well as developing a bright, healthy smile.
Good Choices Start With You
“Our kids watch us for behavior cues throughout their years of development,” states Dr. Lance Heppler, DMD, a dentist in Vancouver, WA. In order to keep your child’s teeth healthy with smart snacks, it’s a good idea to work them into your diet as well.
Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, and practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids by brushing and flossing twice a day. These habits will help your kids realize the importance of making good choices to keep their teeth healthy.
Your Kids’ Opinions Count
Including a variety of fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet doesn’t have to be one person’s responsibility. Buy and prepare fruits and vegetables in different ways, then ask your kids’ opinions about which ones they liked the best.
These kinds of conversations can also be a great opportunity for you and your kids to discuss what kinds of foods are good for their teeth. Include your kids when possible, and they’ll be more enthusiastic about the changes regarding what they eat.
List of Smart Snacks
To help your kids choose healthier snacks, begin the transition slowly. I started by shopping for and buying healthier choices and not purchasing the high-sugar foods we were used to eating. I found the easiest way to incorporate fruits and vegetables was to include one of each at lunch and dinner, and a fruit at breakfast. Crunchier foods, like apples and celery, naturally help to clean teeth and don’t leave residue behind.
These smart snacks can be added to a regular meal or eaten as a snack during the day:
These can be served with low-fat yogurt or cream cheese to combine savory and sweet.
Combine these with condiments like low-fat dressing or peanut butter for a yummy snack.
Choose low-fat or non-fat options to keep a diet low in fat.
- Cottage cheese
- Hard cheeses, like cheddar
Basic Dental Hygiene Tips
Build a basic routine with your kids when it comes to basic dental hygiene. They need to brush and floss their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime. Practice this habit with your kids, and make sure to get them in to see a dentist every six months. Together, these steps will ensure healthy, bright smiles for your whole family!
Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and freelance writer. For more information about keeping your kids’ teeth healthy, contact Dr. Lance Heppler, DMD, a dentist in Vancouver, WA.