Its that time again, back to school. The topic that were addressing today is that of school lunches, and how they can affect your childrens oral health. According to a report by the Academy of General Dentistry, children dont get the nutrition needed to maintain a healthy mouth from school lunches. In fact, they may actually contribute to cavities and other oral issues. With gum disease now linked from everything to obesity to heart disease, and even rheumatoid arthritis, there are a number of adverse health issues that can arise from poor oral hygiene. Here are a few tips for your childrens lunches that can help maintain a healthy mouth.
Take Time & Plan Ahead
Take the time to plan out what youre going to be packing for your childrens lunches. If they have some say in what theyll have to eat, theyll be much more likely to actually eat it. Set some guidelines and options at the same time and youll be able to rest much easier knowing theyre eating healthy.
Snack Well & Eat Right
Fruits and vegetables make the best snacks, but theyre not all good for your teeth. Try to avoid things like raisins, dried figs, or apricots as they are sticky or chewy and will stick to the teeth. When this happens, saliva wont be able to wash away the sugars. These sugars combine with bacteria in the mouth and will contribute to forming excess plaque. This leads to acid production which attacks the teeth and can cause decay.
The best fruits to send are those that are higher in water content like apples, pears, grapes, and melons like cantaloupe. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are the best choices for snacks/sides. Remember though, just because you pack it doesnt mean theyll eat it. A small cup of ranch dressing can make all the difference in the world to a childs taste buds.
If youre not packing your childs lunch, ask the school for a list of available items in the cafeteria and vending machines. In most cases, theyll even provide the menu for you. If whats being offered isnt up to your standards, consult the school administrator to express your concerns. You may be able to make a difference in the food choices the school offers.