Whose kids don't love candy, cookies, and other sugary treats? While the occasional dessert is okay, sweet treats increase the risk for tooth decay and gingivitis. Stock up on these healthy and teeth-friendly snack options to prevent cavities, dental caries, and other oral health issues.
Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids
Proper nutrition comprised of an adequate intake of nutrients is essential to keeping your child's teeth healthy. Include foods low in sugar but high in calcium, the most vital nutrient for strong teeth now and as they grow.
The following foods can be combined for a filling, nutritious snack or small meal:
- String cheeses or cheese slices
- Fruits mixed with low-fat, low-sugar yogurt
- Crunchy vegetables with nuts or nut butter
High in calcium with no added sugar, cheese is an excellent snack option – and with such a wide variety to choose from, finding one that your child enjoys should be easy! String cheese works for lunch boxes and snacks on the go, sliced cheese is a great topping for crackers, and shredded cheese melts well on a tortilla for a more substantial snack.
Another cheese perk? It neutralizes acid, helping to prevent tooth decay. Keep your child's calorie and saturated fat intake under control by selecting low-fat versions when possible.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are also great healthy snacks for kids:
- Many dark-green, leafy vegetables are high in calcium. Serving fresh fruit with low-sugar yogurt to increase calcium content of the snack.
- Raw vegetables pair well by themselves or with a dip or nut butter your child likes.
- Veggies with a small serving of nuts like almonds or cashews make a more filling snack.
- Nuts and nut butter are packed with healthy fats – purchase no added sugar options.
Candy, soda, and processed desserts should be avoided, as they're high in sugar and low in calcium or other essential nutrients. When bacteria feed on sugars, they leave an acidic byproduct behind that can wear away your child's enamel.
And whichever snacks you select, your child should child brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Help them clean between their teeth with floss, flossers, or interdental cleaners each day too.
Selecting healthy snacks for kids can be an adjustment, but the dental and whole-body health benefits are well worth it. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and nuts instead of cookies, chips, or candy to ensure your whole family makes the healthy choice at snack time.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.