healthy after school snack

healthy after school snackMaryville, Alcoa and Knoxville TN

Do your kids come home from school each day ravenously hungry, in a relentless pursuit of snacks? This is quite common; after all, growing bodies need a lot of fuel to make sure they develop physically and mentally to be their best. You probably have heard the old saying “you are what you eat” and when it comes to after-school snacks, this definitely applies. What your child chooses as an after-school snack can make a big difference—positive or negative—in their oral health. Your dentist in the Maryville area at Cedar Street Family Dentistry compiled this guide to recommended after-school snacks, and snacks to avoid to help protect your child’s oral health.

Limit the consumption of sugary foods and drinks

Do your children consider cookies, candy, and soda as part of the major food groups? A sweet tooth is common among kids (and even many adults), but too many sugary snacks can be bad for your oral health as well as your overall health. Sugar is the favorite food source for the cavity-causing bacteria that exist naturally in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars present in the mouth. The sugars then are excreted as acid, where can wear down the protective outer layer of your tooth structure known as tooth enamel. Carbonated drinks can be a double threat to dental health; not only are they high in sugar, but the carbonation is made possible through acids that also can cause damage to tooth enamel.

At Cedar Street Family Dentistry, we recognize that it is unrealistic to forbid your child from partaking in any sweet treats or sugary drinks all of the time. However, you can limit their consumption of these treats by offering only at special occasions, rather than daily options for snacks.

Stick to these snacks to help protect your child’s dental health

To encourage healthy teeth, choose snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and nuts. When you chew crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables, this actually stimulates the production of saliva, a natural way your mouth helps keep your teeth scrubbed clean of accumulated food particles and bacteria. If your child is picky about produce, try combining berries with a flavor of yogurt they like, or providing hummus with raw carrots and celery. As for an after-school drink, milk and water are the best choices. Milk is rich in calcium and will neutralize any acids that may be lingering in the mouth, while water remains the healthiest beverage choice you can make because it is calorie-free, sugar-free, and the best possible source of hydration.

When you eat matters (almost) as much as what you eat

It takes about 30 minutes after eating for saliva to neutralize any remaining acids in the mouth and clear away lingering food particles. Snacking throughout the day prevents saliva from doing what it is supposed to do. Try to keep designated snack times, as opposed to letting your children graze on food throughout the day. This can damage young teeth, even if the food choices are healthy ones.

Nutrition counseling in Maryville

What you eat plays a major factor in determining your oral health. For this reason, Cedar Street Family Dentistry is proud to offer nutrition counseling. Our team of professionals can provide advice on the potential effects of their food choices, as well as how nutrition can help lower your risk of tooth decay. To learn more about our program of nutrition counseling or any of the other services that we offer, give us a call at (865) 233-7640 to schedule a consultation.

Cedar Street Family Dentistry serves patients in Alcoa, Knoxville, and Maryville, Tennessee.