Summer Snacks: Give Your Kids Healthy Choices

Posted on July 2, 2013 in General oral health

Fourth of July or Memorial Day picnicSummer is in full swing bringing warmer weather, more free time and frequently, summertime snacking. If you want to keep your family's teeth healthy, keep track of what and how often you eat. Bacteria in the mouth changes sugars from food your family eats into acids. These acids attack teeth enamel and can lead to tooth decay.

The more snacks and meals you have during the day, the more you expose your teeth to the cycle of decay. So what kinds of foods should your family enjoy during the summer?

Summer is the perfect time for fresh fruits and raw vegetables. Serve watermelon, a fruit high in water content, and firm, crunchy fruits like apples and pears to help stimulate the flow of saliva. Saliva helps wash away food particles and acid to help protect the teeth from decay.

Acidic fruits – tomatoes, lemons or citrus fruits – should be eaten as part of a full meal to minimize their natural acids ..

Cheeses, chicken, and other lean meats, nuts and milk are always a great choice since they protect tooth enamel. They naturally provide calcium and phosphorous, elements that re-mineralize teeth. “Re-mineralize” means that minerals are put back into tooth enamel to replace those removed by acids.

Sports drinks, juices, lemonade and soda are tempting to quench summer thirst, but water is the best choice to stay hydrated in the hot weather. Sports drinks, juices, lemonade and soda all contain added sugars that can increase your risk for tooth decay.

Ice cream is another summertime favorite. An occasional sweet snack is part of summer fun. A smile-worthy alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth is no-sugar added banana strawberry ice cream.

No matter what you eat or drink, brush and floss regularly to keep your smile healthy during every season.