In addition to academic learning and the development of proper socialization skills, you’re concerned about what types of foods your child is eating during the school day. While you can let him or her eat a cafeteria lunch, it leaves you uncertain whether your child is getting the right nutrients. To further complicate matters, school lunches can have a serious impact on oral health. Continue reading to discover how to boost your child’s dental wellness with the right foods!
The Relationship Between School Lunches and Cavities
Sugar can be a major threat to oral health. The more that is consumed, the greater the chances of developing plaque and cavities. When sugar particles are allowed to linger on the teeth and gums, they quickly attract bacteria that feed on the leftovers. As they digest the sugar, the microorganisms release corrosive fluids that can eventually wear down the protective tooth enamel.
A variety of unhealthy treats are available to children throughout the day, especially if they are in junior or senior high. One of the biggest threats is the vending machine, as it contains a host of processed foods and beverages. Even worse, the average school cafeteria offers an abundance of breads, desserts and sugary drinks.
The Advantage of Packing Lunch at Home
If you want more say-so in what your child is eating while at school, you can pack lunch at home. Here are some guidelines you should follow:
- Don’t include any sticky foods that cling to the teeth.
- Be sure to include a combination of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and calcium fortified products (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.).
- Pack a sugar-free flavored beverage to curb sugar cravings and the consumption of unhealthy beverages.
Additionally, you should pack a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste. If your child won’t have time to perform normal dental hygiene, the next best thing to have is a small bottle of mouthwash. It will help rinse away some of the lingering debris.
Other Measures You Can Implement at Home
Even with the best efforts, children will be children. Meaning, the majority of them love sweets and other treats that are devoid of nutrients. One way to better ensure compliance is to set a standard for healthy eating at home. The more you expose your child’s tastebuds to fruits, vegetables and other healthy food options, the more you can count on the positive habits to extend into the school day.
It’s also important to encourage proper dental hygiene, which should include brushing and flossing at least two times a day. By acting on the above suggestions, you can feel much better about your child remaining as healthy as possible even when you’re not around!
About the Author
Dr. Jay Dubin earned his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. With over 30 years of experience as a dentist, he still remains passionate about learning, taking several hours of continuing education annually. Dr. Dubin helps families experience the absolute best in oral health by providing patient and attentive care at Dental Innovations, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.