Mindful Choices for a Radiant Smile
In the formative years of a child’s life instilling healthy habits particularly concerning oral health, is of utmost importance. Kids tend to eat in a slower manner than adults, because they’re learning the mechanics of chewing, swallowing and establishing manual dexterity and hand skills to manage cutlery etc. This slow style of eating can unfortunately spread any acid attack from sugary or carb heavy food out over a longer time period, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
Every snack or drink (besides water) has the potential to be converted into an acidic attack. Bacteria hiding in fissures (valleys on the biting surface of teeth) and grooves (hidden between teeth where floss can’t reach) produces acids capable of damaging the enamel. Even healthy snacks like fruit contain natural sugars and acids which can pose a risk when eaten too frequently between meals.
Paediatric Dental Health: Best Low-Sugar Snack Choices
Guiding your child towards a diverse range of balanced snack choices is essential. Incorporate snacks such as raw vegetables like carrots and cucumbers paired with hummus, Greek yoghurt topped with a sprinkle of nuts, cheese slices, boiled eggs, or even a smoothie with a blend of spinach, bananas, and a hint of honey.
Alternatives like whole-grain crackers with avocado dip or almond butter can also be a hit. These options are nutritious and foster a healthy kids smile dental environment due to their low sugar and acid content.
Make sure you encourage kids to sit down and eat their snacks all in one go, then finish with water to wash food debrid off the teeth before moving away from the snacks to discourage slow eating or grazing. Grazing or eating too close to bedtime will spread acid attack on the teeth, drastically increasing the risk of tooth decay.
An identical diet between two children can cause decay in one child and not another when the food is eaten slowly, or too close to bed time. Saliva or spit is your child’s greatest ally in preventing tooth decay (not tooth brushing surprisingly!)
Child Dental Health: Saliva’s Role & Smart Snack Timing
Saliva (aka spit) floods their mouth with 7 magical ingredients that fight tooth decay whenever they eat. It takes 30 minutes for saliva to wash acid away and another 30 minutes for the magic 7 ingredients to repair any attack from the acid. If children snack again within that hour they will undo all of this work.
Similarly, children do not produce any saliva at night while they sleep (despite some drool on the pillow), so any snacks consumed in the last 30 minutes before bedtime will cause damage which will be carried through until morning when some saliva can start the repair work. Tooth brushing will clean the bacteria off their teeth but does not contain the restorative ingredients of spit, so while tooth brushing is very important, it’s not enough to undo damage from sugar consumed too close to bedtime.