A mother and daughter taste-test a meal while cooking in the kitchen

Meal Planning Tips for Healthier Teeth

Everyone should be able to shine through life with their brightest smile. Did you know that what you eat can dramatically impact the state of your teeth? That's why it's important to choose healthier foods for you and your kids. We've put together some simple meal planning tips to improve everyone's oral health in your family.

Find Out Which Foods are Best for You and Your Family

A great place to start when looking for healthy meal planning options is browsing through USDA's ChooseMyPlate.gov website. The site offers dietary recommendations for both you and your kids based on the amount of physical activity you're involved in. Make your kids part of the process of making food choices. Print out a My Plate coloring sheet together and post it in the kitchen to remind everyone.

Avoid the Vending Machines

We're all tempted to take breaks and munch on sugary snacks during the workday, aren't we? Do your kids ever use the vending machines at school? If yes, are you considering the toll these sugary snacks and candy take on your smiles?

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, but the good news is that it's entirely preventable with some simple planning.

To prevent your family from indulging in sugary snacks, pack healthy, satisfying snacks like veggie sticks or sliced fruits for everyone to enjoy. You can make this as easy and convenient as possible. One day each week, pack healthy snacks into single-serve containers so you and your kids can grab and go each morning.

Plan Healthier Drink Choices

Sugary drinks and sweetened sodas can also lead to tooth decay. It's natural for you or your kids to pick them up on the go, but unfortunately, these acidic, sugary beverages enhance tooth decay.

Again, planning can be your friend. Instead of soda, why don't you try flavored water? It can be equally satisfying. Pick out a colorful, reusable water bottle with your child. Cut some fresh fruit (orange, watermelon, or your favorite berry) and pack them into the bottle with some ice on top. Next, fill the bottle with water. Lastly, chill the mixture for a few hours and enjoy!

Plan Using Teeth-Healthy Choices

When you're at home, you can plan for meals that feature calcium-rich foods, such as salmon and dark green leafy vegetables, to promote healthy teeth and bones. When packing a lunch, it might be easier to go with low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese or even some almonds or other nuts that are more grab and go.

We know you're busy with many things to juggle, but with just a little bit of careful meal planning, you and your kids will have nutritious food options at your fingertips.

After all, your kids deserve a future they can smile about!

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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.

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