There is no end to the list of what most parents worry about while their children are at school. One common cause for worry is whether or not your child is eating properly while he/she is away from home for the day. Schools are required to provide the recommended amount of daily nutrients to their students, but even healthy foods can damage a person’s oral health. Most parents do not know exactly where the school’s cafeteria receives its food from, or what foods are being served. Most children do not and will not brush their teeth in a school bathroom after lunch, so your choices for protecting their teeth are limited. Syosset dentist Dr. Richard Kobak advises you to pack your child’s lunch at home, and offers advice on foods that can help benefit your child’s oral health.
Good for the Body, Bad for the Teeth
Some foods that are healthy for our bodies can be detrimental to our oral health at the same time. For instance, our bodies need sugar to operate properly, yet the bacteria in our mouths thrive on refined sugar and turn it into lactic acid, which erodes enamel and leads to tooth decay. Orange juice, while rich in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and calcium, is also abundant in sugars and citric acid. You should not eliminate OJ from your breakfast menu, however. Instead, have your children drink it through a straw to minimize contact with their teeth. Also, advise them to drink it quickly to lessen the amount of time their teeth are exposed to it.
Other fruit juices are equally as dangerous to your teeth for the same reasons. Milk and water are the best beverage choices. Both promote a healthy mouth as well as a healthy body, and the calcium and phosphate found in milk helps strengthen their teeth. You can also try unsweetened tea or green tea, which is extolled for its ability to kill bacteria that cause bad breath.
Mouth-Healthy Lunch Options
Eating for good oral health involves more than avoiding harmful substances. Some foods contain properties that actively promote a healthy mouth. Meats, including chicken, beef, and turkey, contain phosphates that help rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel. Cheese and nuts also contain phosphate and calcium, another mineral that helps enamel formation. Firm or crunchy fruits, like apples and pears, contain a lot of water, which helps neutralize acids and stimulate the flow of saliva. For more information on healthy foods to pack as part of your child’s lunch, consult with Dr. Kobak during your next visit. To schedule an appointment, call our Syosset dental office at (516) 433-2211. We welcome patients from Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk, and the surrounding New York City neighborhoods.