Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 forcing businesses and schools to close, many parents find themselves with no choice but to homeschool their kids. As important as it is to maintain oral hygiene is, however, maintaining a healthy diet is also essential for maintaining healthy teeth.
Although our offices are currently closed, your devoted local McAllen family dentist at WhiteWing Dental still wants to lend a helping hand by recommending the best healthy foods options your little ones have to eat while they are homeschooled during such uncertain times.
Healthy Snacks for Happier Smilers
We understand that as parents, it can be quite challenging to get your kids to choose healthy snacks over processed, sugary ones, but it’s important to focus on all aspects of their health, including their dental health. Some healthy snacks that are teeth-friendly include:
- Apples – An apple a day helps keep the cavities at bay! The process of chewing crunchy fruits rich in fiber can help get rid of unwanted plaque buildup. Plus, it has plenty of vitamins and minerals, making it an easy, nutritious snack.
- Carrots and Celery – Like apples, these crunchy veggies are made up of a lot of water, and the chewing helps clean tooth surfaces. But the water and fibrous strands contained in these vegetables don’t just help clean teeth, they also balance the sugars.
- Oranges – Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin for a strong immune system that can combat COVID-19. Without sufficient intakes of vitamin C, scurvy can develop for both kids and adults, which may lead to bleeding, swollen gums.
- Low-Fat Yogurt – Calcium is essential for healthy teeth, and yogurt is a fun, healthy option for your youngins to eat. Throw in a few berries to make it sweeter and extra nutritious.
- Cheese – Add cheese with lunch or as a snack; it helps trigger healthy saliva flow, which is necessary to wash away food particles from teeth.
- Nuts and Seeds – These are a fantastic snack for your kids’ tummies and their teeth! Acids chew away at tooth enamel, but almonds, peanuts, and cashews have generous amounts of calcium and phosphorus, protecting the teeth by restoring their lost minerals. Once enamel is lost, however, it doesn’t grow back, making early preventative measures important.
- Broccoli and other Unbe“leaf”ably green veggies! – With their high levels of vitamins and minerals, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables offer many benefits for oral health. The folic acid in leafy greens like spinach and kale helps maintain the health of teeth and gums.
Watch for Bad Snacking Habits
Snacking may be tempting during a shelter-in-place, but how often your kids eat snacks is just as important as what they eat when they do. Time in between meals gives saliva the chance to clean out food particles that bacteria would typically dissolve.
Constant snacking without brushing right after the fact can cause a build-up of plaque and tooth decay. To address this, try limiting your children’s snack time to no more than once or twice each day, and make sure they brush their teeth immediately following their snack.
It’s also in your children’s’ best interest to eat snacks that are sugar-free or unsweetened. Offer plain water as an alternative to juices and sugary beverages instead because their sugary and/or acidic ingredients can destroy tooth enamel. Water, on the other hand, helps wash away food particles that tend to stick on the teeth.
Share a Few Tooth-Friendly Dinners With Them, Too
Two other examples of tooth-friendly dinner choices are eggs and fish. Eggs offer calcium, protein, and vitamin D, which helps build and maintain strong, healthy teeth. The Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish also offer vitamin D and help to keep teeth and jawbones sturdy while your kids’ teeth grow.
Also, if you and your kids like bread and pasta, try and go for whole wheat options instead. Simple carbohydrates from starches in white flour may break down into sugars in the body, causing tooth decay.
Healthy Teeth for a Happy Smile
At WhiteWing Dental, we hope you and your children can maintain healthy habits for healthy teeth during these difficult times. Your health and wellbeing and that of our other patients, staff, and the community will always come first for us. Follow the tips above to keep your children’s mouths and teeth healthy during this shelter-in-place.