To Snack or Not to Snack

We all want our children to have healthy teeth, whether their baby teeth are coming in or if they are older and have all of their primary teeth.  It is very important to develop a feeding schedule for your child.  It is best for small children to have three meals a day as well as a mid-morning and afternoon snack.  A lot of snacking between meals increases the frequency with which harmful foods can be in contact with your children’s teeth and thus increases the likelihood that your children could develop cavities.  Constant snacking between meals should be avoided.

Snacks that are the best for your children to eat are those high in protein such as peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, etc.  Raw Fruits and vegetables are also very good snacks for children to have.

Beware snack foods that are sticky.  These foods can stick to the chewing surfaces or between the teeth and cause cavities.   In particular, be careful with dried fruits such as raisins.  It’s all right to snack on dried fruits and raisins occasionally.  The catch is that you’ll want to make sure that your children’s primary teeth – especially those baby molar teeth – are brushed soon afterwards. They are very sticky and dried fruits have high sugar content.

Beware of reduced fat and low sugar processed snacks.  These products are usually lower in sugar than the normal products but still very high in sugar themselves.   These snacks are typically very starchy as well and the starches will be turned into sugar once they begin being digested by your children’s saliva.

Also, steer clear of artificial fruit and fruit juice. Artificial fruits can be extremely unhealthy because it’s made up of a series of chemicals, some inedible such as petroleum) engineered to create “taste” or flavoring. Fruit juice can contain artificial sweeteners that can increase the rate of tooth decay. Fruit juice can be unhealthy for your child due to the high levels of sugar and acidity. Citrus fruit juices also contain high levels of acid that can affect the enamel protecting the teeth.

No matter where your child is on the baby teeth schedule, it’s important to be aware of these guidelines for healthy baby back teeth, baby molar teeth and all the o