Wow: Who knew your angelic, sleepy toddler could peel paint with their nap breath? It's mildly disturbing to realize your sweet baby is now small human who can be kinda gross sometimes. But hey, you got this. After all, part of life with kiddos is rolling with the punches. No matter what causes bad breath, you can counteract your toddler's bad breath with snacks that can do double-duty: provide nourishing nutrients and freshen breath. Read on to discover 6 simple snacks that can help nix bad breath — and even make mouths healthier overall.
1. A+ Apple Slices
Apple slices are a staple of toddler snack time, and we're happy to report that the fiber-rich treat is also great for eliminating stinky bacteria that causes bad breath. The fiber content actually helps scrub teeth, according to the American Dental Association.
TIP: Not only does fiber content help clean teeth, chewing fruit such as apples and pears also boosts saliva production, which acts like a natural mouthwash.
2. Keep Carrot Sticks
Simple carrot sticks are easy to prepare and is fantastic at helping freshen kiddos' breath. Just like eating fruit triggers saliva production that can help nix bad breath, chomping crunchy vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, or celery increases salvia, which then rinses away odor-causing bacteria.
TIP: If you have a toddler, we probably don't have to tell you this, but just a reminder: Kids love dips. Any kind of dips! Offering peanut butter, ranch, or hummus on the side will make carrot sticks exciting for toddlers.
3. Yay For Yogurt
You can feel great about serving yogurt, too. Kids love it, and it is clinically shown to help with bad breath. Japanese researchers found that eating plain, sugar-free yogurt reduced hydrogen sulfide, a compound known as a common bad-breath culprit, in 80% of volunteers.
TIP: The credit for freshening breath goes to beneficial bacteria in yogurt, so look for probiotic yogurt with the live active culture strains Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus.
4. All About the Orange Slices
You really don't need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to bad-breath fighting snacks. Orange slices are another basic kid-approved food that can help freshen breath. Not only are they nutritious in general and good for gum health, vitamin C rich-foods create an environment that odor-producing bacteria just can't tolerate.
TIP: As oranges, melons, and berries, also deliver powerful antioxidants that can support periodontal treatments, according to the journal Nutrients.
5. Cheer Up with Cherries
Cherries are another delicious option that can freshen breath and still make the cut for toddler snack time. Cherries (and other foods, such as lettuce) have been shown to counteract a stinky compound that contributes to bad breath called methyl mercaptan.
TIP: Safety first! For toddlers, the stones in cherries can be a choking hazard, so do remove the pits from the cherries before serving.
6. Water World
Water is the beverage of choice for counteracting bad breath in anyone — but it works for toddlers, too. Drinking plenty of water washes away food particles and bacteria from between the teeth. And it also deprives odor-causing anaerobic bacteria of the dry environment they like.
TIP: In addition to washing away little pieces of food and making the mouth an unfriendly place for bacteria to live, sipping water also combats bad breath by increasing saliva production, which minimizes smelly bacteria — and keeps mouths healthier overall. You can also explore flossing and brushing strategies to beat bad breath.