Smart Snacks for Dental Health

Are you wondering how to keep your kids cavity-free? Trying to limit those sugary-snacks your kids love but don’t know what to replace them with? Well, Truestar is here to give you the tips you need to keep your children’s teeth looking and functioning at their best for years to come.

Sugar and cavities

Kids love to eat sugary sweets like candies, cakes, cookies and pop. But, even though they taste good, it doesn’t mean they’re good for you! Table Sugar (sucrose) and corn sweeteners (fructose) found in kids’ favorite snack foods and drinks are two big culprits of cavities. However, recent research shows that cooked starches such as bread, cereals, pasta, crackers and potato chips also play a role. When sugary foods are allowed to remain in the mouth for several hours, bacteria produces acids that dissolve the hard enamel covering the teeth, leading to cavities. By limiting the amount of sugar-rich foods, the bacteria can’t produce as much of this acid.

Dental Health Guidelines

All foods can lead to tooth decay if good oral hygiene is not followed. Small particles of food can get caught on tooth surfaces and some foods can stay in the mouth longer due to their “sticky” texture, possibly leading to cavities. Follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:

• Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

• Floss children’s teeth once a day until they are able to do it themselves.

• Visit your dentist regularly.

• Get enough fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products, and when indicated, fluoride supplements.

• Have sealants applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent teeth or molars soon after they come in.

• Snack in moderation—twice daily.

Smart Snacks

When choosing snacks for your child, try to avoid sugar-laden sweets. Check ingredient labels for words ending in the suffix “-ose,” such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maltose and sucrose. Honey and brown sugar are also a form of sugar. If an ingredient label lists any form of sugar as one of its first three ingredients, it’s not a great choice. Also, try to avoid sticky foods such as dried fruit, gummy candy or toffee, as these are not easily washed away from the teeth by saliva, water or other liquids and have more chance of promoting cavities.

It’s also better to save foods with high sugar content for dessert or to eat them at mealtimes, as eating a meal will produce more saliva in the mouth, which helps break down sugars that cause tooth decay. Also, it’s best not to eat sugary foods that stay in the mouth for a long time such as gum or hard candies.

Eating a balanced diet such as the Truestar meal plans for kids can help to ensure your child is getting the important nutrients and foods for proper dental health. Healthy snacks offered on the Truestar plans include:

• Cheese and whole-grain crackers

• Vegetables and dip

• Fruit smoothies

• Cottage cheese with fruit and nuts

• Turkey, tuna or cheese on whole-wheat wrap

For overall good health, get your child on the Truestar Nutrition, Exercise, Supplement, Sleep and Attitude plans!