School is just around the corner, which means backpacks and packed lunches await your children. However, one aspect you may not have considered when it comes to lunch options is dental health. All ages are at risk of developing cavities, especially if they don’t practice healthy dental habits, according to Kathleen Pace DDS, assistant professor at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.
Dr Pace offers the following tips for parents to promote healthy dental habits in children:
1. Eat healthy foods at home
One of the easiest things you can do to ensure your child will make healthy, tooth-conscious decisions at school is to eat healthy foods at home. Aim to serve your child a balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and protein.
2. Pack fruits and dairy
Packing fruit will satisfy your child’s sweet cravings and help them gain all the proper nutrients they need. One of the best snacks you can pack in your child’s lunch is a dairy product. Try throwing in a string cheese or a carton of milk.
3. Avoid sticky and sugary foods
Check all the sugar content on any pre-packaged foods or snacks, and opt for more natural or low-sugar foods instead. If you’re having trouble thinking of appropriate snacks, fruits with peels can satisfy your little one’s sweet tooth without promoting cavities.
4. Be active in their dental care
Participate in your child’s morning and nightly teeth cleaning rituals, and teach them the tools to keep those pearly whites healthy and happy.