School Lunches: Cavity Central
August 10, 2022
Whether you pack your child’s lunch or they purchase one at school, this meal providing them with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is an important part of their day. Not only will this encourage a healthy smile, but it will also help their body function as intended. Unfortunately, many common school lunches don’t give students what they need for good oral and overall health. In fact, some popular foods even encourage tooth decay. Read on to learn about the connection between school lunches and tooth decay, what to pack your child instead, and other ways to help them prevent decay.
How School Lunches and Cavities are Linked
Cavities form when bacteria release acids that attack your little one’s tooth enamel. These bacteria feed off the sugar in the foods and drinks your child consumes. This means that feeding them things like chocolate milk, canned fruit, juice, ice cream, and popsicles encourages the formation of cavities. Additionally, foods that are high in carbs and starch break down into sugar in the mouth. Because of this, other common school lunch items like pretzels, pizza, nachos, potato chips, crackers, hamburgers, french fries, and burritos can also damage their smile.
What to Pack Your Child for Lunch
When it comes to packing your child a delicious and nutritious lunch, there are several foods you should consider including. Along with water, a few dentist-approve foods your little one can take to school include:
- Fruits and veggies – Pack ones that are high in vitamins and fiber, such as strawberries, carrots, apples, celery, bananas, and broccoli
- Dairy products – Low-fat and calcium-fortified dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk provide their smile with much-needed vitamins.
- Lean meat – Lunch meats like turkey and chicken are also good for their smile.
4 Other Ways to Avoid Cavities
Preparing a bagged lunch for your child to take to school with them is a good way to monitor what they eat and ensure that they aren’t filling up on cavity-causing foods and drinks. There are also several good oral health habits that you can encourage on top of a tooth-healthy diet, including:
- Steer clear of junk food – Teach your little one to avoid snacks like candy, chips, or any other items that they could buy from a vending machine besides water.
- Variety is key – To keep your child’s taste buds from getting tired of the same old thing, switch up what you pack for them. This will also give their body a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
- Avoid sticky foods – Don’t pack any sticky foods that can’t easily be washed away with water. This includes things like fruit snacks and raisins.
- Include a toothbrush – Put a toothbrush and toothpaste in your child’s lunch box so they can brush their teeth after lunch.
Cavities mean bad news for your little one’s oral health. With the above information on school lunches and by ensuring that your child has healthy options available to them, you can help them maintain a healthy, bright, and decay-free smile!
About the Practice
Drs. Frank and Jeanelle Marchese lead the Lisle team of dental health professionals at Arbor Dental Care. They put patient safety and comfort as their top priorities and offer a multitude of services to help your little one keep their teeth healthy and beautiful. If you want to schedule an appointment for your child with Arbor Dental Care or are interested in learning more about foods to pack in their school lunches, visit Arbor Dental Care’s website or call them at (630) 969-2310.
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