Summer is coming to an end, and it won’t be long until the school season starts and parents have less control over their children — specifically, their diets. It’s one thing if you pack a lunch for your child each day, but if they’re eating food from the cafeteria, it’s important to be wary of each day’s choices. Eating the wrong foods can hurt not only your children’s overall health, but their dental health in particular. Here are just a few tips to help make sure your child or young teen is eating healthy meals throughout the entire school year.
Provide your child with their own (healthy) beverages so they don’t take a trip to the vending machines.
Everybody knows that sugary drinks are bad for your health and especially your teeth, but many schools stock their vending machines with the worst of the worst: energy drinks. As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, dentists and researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1% to 1.5%). To prevent your child from the temptation, provide them with their own healthy beverages from home. Milk, unsweetened iced tea, and flavored water are all great options.
Pack a healthy snack for between meals.
Some students don’t have lunchtime until later in the afternoon, which means they’re usually hungry before they even get out of their last class. Help them resist cravings by packing them a healthy snack for before lunch. A granola bar, dry cereal, or a piece of fruit are all great options. You never know if the snack they ate before lunch is what prevented them from treating themselves to a sugary dessert.
Check the school lunch menu ahead of time.
Finally, it’s important to check the school’s lunch menu ahead of time to determine whether or not it’s a healthy option. When in doubt, pack your child’s lunch or buy the ingredients they need to make it for themselves. Communicating with your child or young teen is also important to ensure proper dental development and oral health education.
Ultimately, these tips can make sure your child or young teen takes care of their teeth throughout the entire school year. For more information about pediatric dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group.