Ever wonder how to keep your kid’s teeth healthy and strong, while also tackling the afternoon hunger pangs? Well, say goodbye to cavity-causing sugary snacks and hello to nutrient-rich options that support better oral health. Our Naperville pediatric dentists are sharing after-school snack ideas that are full of minerals and vitamins for the teeth and gums.
Sliced Apples and Peanut Butter
When it comes to foods that are good for teeth, apples always make the list. They’re crunchy and high in water content, which means they naturally clean the teeth as kids eat. Pair them with some peanut butter, which has protein and healthy fats, and you’ve got yourself a winning combo.
Kid-Friendly Snack Plate
Do a play on charcuterie with string cheese or cheese cubes, turkey slices and some grapes. Cheese is rich in calcium, crucial for strong teeth. Plus, turkey’s a lean protein and is high in phosphorus, which teams up with calcium to create the main structural component of the bones and enamel.
Smoothie With Greek Yogurt, Frozen Fruit, Almond Milk
Smoothies not only contain vitamins for teeth and gum health, but the liquid also rinses off the teeth easily. Since the longer food sits on the enamel, the more damage it does, this is a big bonus. For a smile-friendly smoothie, blend Greek yogurt, frozen berries, almond milk and an optional scoop of protein powder.
Greek yogurt is rich in calcium, which we’ve established is important for keeping kids’ teeth strong. It also contains probiotics that balance the good bacteria in the mouth. The berries deliver antioxidants, which have a protective effect on gum tissue, while the protein from the powder fuels growing smiles.
A Banana and Walnuts
A handful of walnuts and a banana contain a satiating mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. Walnuts are full of nutrients that are integral for oral health, including phosphorus, iron and omega-3s. The act of eating crunchy walnuts removes a bit of plaque and any lingering banana.
Celery Sticks With Cream Cheese
Think of celery as nature’s dental floss. Its stringy, fibrous texture helps to clean between teeth. Slather on some cream cheese for a smooth and satisfying flavor contrast that isn’t high in sugar.
Carrot Sticks and Hummus
Carrots are one of the best healthy foods for kids’ teeth because they contain enamel-strengthening vitamin A and plaque bacteria-fighting keratin. The crunchy texture stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes acids in the mouth. Dipping the carrots in hummus brings protein and healthy fats into the mix.
Sweet Potato Fries
Oven-baked sweet potato fries are filling and, like carrots, high in vitamin A. This makes them an excellent healthy snack idea for both the teeth and gums. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and cinnamon for an after-school treat.
Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber Slices and Feta Cheese Balls
Talk about a colorful plate! Cherry tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, cucumbers add saliva-promoting crunch, and feta offers the calcium teeth need. It’s a delicious trifecta of nutrients for dental health.
Hard-Boiled Eggs with a Whole-Grain Mini Bagel
Hard-boiled eggs are a fantastic source of protein and essential nutrients, including smile-friendly phosphorus and vitamins D and K. While starchy foods like bagels are best enjoyed in moderation, choosing a whole grain, snack-sized variety and pairing it with protein offers a good balance.
Nutrition is One Piece of the Oral Health Puzzle
Incorporating these types of foods into after-school snacks and meals can reduce your child’s risk of cavities and gum disease. When combined with diligent brushing and flossing and routine dental cleanings and exams, healthy eating plays an important role in helping kids maintain healthy teeth.
Looking for a pediatric dentist in Naperville to round out your preventive care plan? Schedule a visit for your child at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. Our expert dentists and friendly team will work with you to bring out the best in your kiddo’s smile.