Whether you’re trying to fix a snack for your children or for yourself, odds are you try to find something that’s at least somewhat healthy. Junk food and sugary sweets taste good, but they can also contribute to problems like diabetes and obesity. Aside from those health conditions, sugary snacks can also wreak havoc on your teeth. Below, we share four tips for making teeth-conscious decisions when it comes to snacking.
Limit Added Sugar
Some snack foods like milk, apples and oranges have natural sugars, and while keeping an eye on these natural sugars is crucial, the most important ingredient to watch is the added sugars. Examples of added sugar include sweeteners like corn syrup and white sugar, and the US Food and Drug Administration recommends that people over the age of three should have no more than 12.5 teaspoons of added sugar a day. That’s roughly the same amount of added sugar as in one can of soda. However, the World Health Organization only recommends 6 tsp. of added sugar for adults, and 3 tsp. for children. Added sugars can break down tooth enamel and contribute to cavities.
Regulate Juice and Soda
You probably know that sodas, even diet options, aren’t something you want to make a habit of drinking, but a lot of people have misconceptions about juice. Juice is high in both calories and sugar, so reach for the water and milk when possible. Children between the ages of 1-6 should only have 4-6 oz of juice a day, and regularly consuming juice puts your child at higher risk of tooth decay and cavity-causing bacteria.
Skip The Sticky Fruit Snacks
Just because the snack has fruit in the name, doesn’t mean it’s a great option for your child’s teeth. Fruit snacks and fruit roll ups are more candy than fruit, and because they can stick to your teeth, they can cause more damage than sugary drinks, which are easier to wash away. Even dried options like raisins can be problematic for their tendency to stick to teeth and cause damage for an extended period of time. Real fruit is preferred to artificial fruit products or sticky fruits.
Be A Good Example
Finally, getting your kids to snack on healthy options will be easier if they have a role model to look up to. If you’re chowing down Chex Mix or munching on M&M’s, your kids are going to want to do the same. Instead, see if they want to share an apple, or help them peel a clementine. Pair healthy snacking habits with a good dental care routine by showing your kids how you brush your teeth and floss on a daily basis!