So, you might be asking, “why is my dentist recommending healthy summer snacks?”

Simple: Healthy mouths go way beyond just brushing and flossing. A healthy diet is also a big part of it.

Choosing snacks that are good for your child’s health – and their teeth – is just good planning. They can help prevent cavities, protect braces and prevent a host of dental issues – and lower dental care bills.

Ice cream, ice pops, candy and all the “fun” stuff are not just filled with sugars, but also acids. These acids, such as citric acid, carbonic acid and phosphoric acid (found in sodas, “energy” and other sugary drinks and snacks) can break down the enamel on teeth. It can also lower the mouth’s pH level, which creates an optimal environment for bad bacteria. This can eventually lead to tooth decay.

Sugary foods taste great, and make a fun treat every now and again, but ice cream, candy and the like won’t properly fuel your child with the right nutrients and energy he or she needs for all the running around. There are some great snack choices that make sense and will taste just as good. Some of our favorites:

 

INSTEAD OF THIS:

TRY THIS:

OPTIONS:

  • Chewy candy
  • Crunchy fruits and veggies (like apples and carrots) to keep teeth strong and healthy
  • Dipping fruits and veggies into yogurt or peanut butter
  • For carrots, try hummus or guacamole!
  • Ice cream & popsicles
  • Homemade frozen yogurt (super simple: Blend your favorite fruit, yogurt, a little honey and some lemon in a food processor, blend until smooth and freeze!)
  • For popsicles: blend fruit juice with vanilla yogurt and freeze
  • Pour the mixture into ice cube trays for smaller treats that won’t ruin anyone’s appetite
  • Candy
  • Toss cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc., together for a nutrient-rich snack-by-the-handful
  • Add some chocolate chips, coconut, etc. for variety
  • Soda or other sugary drinks
  • Choose juices without added sugar, milk or water
  • Sparkling water (Although sparkling water doesn’t contain sugar, it is carbonated (acid).
    To keep your teeth as healthy as possible, the ADA recommends swapping sugary beverages for sparkling water, but not replacing regular, fluoridated water with sparkling water
  • Make your own infused water by adding fresh or frozen fruit or cucumbers for a refreshing treat
  • The longer it sits, the more flavorful the water will be.
  • Experiment with combinations (such as blueberries and mint)

 

Making some simple and easy choices is a great way to get your kids interested in an overall healthy lifestyle that will serve them well as they get older. Pinterest is filled with some great ideas you and your kids can make together!