The modern lifestyle is on steroids. Kids suffer from this same fast lifestyle when you are not able to properly consider snack smart for healthy teeth. We don’t give much time or importance to kids’ snacks and never prepare them according to the dental and medical health rules. As a result our kids end up with caries in their primary and permanent teeth. Some parents don’t have the time to follow these rules while some don’t even have a knowledge of them.
I don’t want to sound as a lecturer who bombards you with the ratio of carbohydrates and proteins in the food but I will let you learn all that is necessary for a well balanced and caries free snacks.
Dietary Habits In Kids To Prevent Caries Development
Unlike adults, kids eat in small but several portions. That is why the given food should be non cariogenic (which doesn’t cause caries in teeth) and well balanced. The right pattern of snacks is as follows:
When To Take Refined Sugar
If your child wants to eat refined sugar like biscuits/bakery products/chocolates/candies/chips/corn sweeteners etc in between meal times, the chances of caries is high. So if he wants to take refined sugars, then it should be taken with meals in small amounts.
Amount Of Refined Sugar
Minimize the use of refined sugar as much as possible, rather use fibrous and high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates in food for kids.
Finishing A Chocolate Bar?
If your child is finishing his candy bar or chocolate bar made up of cariogenic sugars like sucrose in 4 hours or in a whole day then the carious activity will be very high. The chances of kid’s getting carious lesions in teeth will be unbeatable. So if you are letting your child eat a chocolate or a candy, then ask him to finish it in 15 minutes or as soon as possible followed immediately by 3-5 minutes of brushing of the teeth.
Non Sticky Snacks
Do not let your child eat sticky snacks. Sticky snacks get stuck within teeth contacts and at hidden places and are hard to remove which increases the chances of developing caries.
Fixed Timings For Food Intake
There should be a fixed time for breakfast, brunch, lunch, evening snack and dinner. The brunch and evening snack should not contain high fats and refined sugars. Prefer raw vegetables, fruits, milk shakes without sucrose and high protein snacks with less fried food.
Don’t Lose Milk’s Calcium
Do not add flavors like cocoa, coffee, chocolates, cashew in milk because it will hamper the calcium absorption of milk within the blood.
Healthy Snack Can Be Baked
Make your kid whole wheat flour and sucrose substitute like ‘Monellin’ with butter bakery snack occasionally rather than buying them doughnuts or cupcakes.
Snack For Healthy Teeth: 5 Characteristics Of Ideal Snacks For Kids
Characteristics of an ideal snack should be:
- The retention within the mouth should be less and preferably should be non-sticky.
- The snack should stimulate saliva production which means it should involve chewing and biting.
- The food content should be high in proteins and low in fermentable carbohydrates with moderate level of minerals like, phosphorous, calcium and fluoride. The quantity of fats should be low as in less fried food but don’t compromise on good fats like dairy fats and nuts.
- The snacks should be low in caries stimulating agent like sucrose.
- The pH of the snack should be more than 5.5. For example, use dairy products and avoid frizzy drinks. If the snack lacks sucrose even then pH would stay more than 5.5.
Caries Inhibiting Food Components:
Phosphates suppress caries production. Sodium meta-phosphate is most effective in reducing caries in kids’ teeth. Di-calcium phosphate gums are also considered as caries reducing agent. Phosphate candies can be used to reduce caries. Bakery products containing phosphate and sucrose free sweetener can reduce chances of caries.Replace sucrose with less Cariogenic sweetener.
Fibrous food prevents caries development in your kids’ teeth. It contains food like fruits, vegetables, whole grain wheat and oat cereals. The pyridoxine constituent of cocoa and chocolates are found to be cariogenic. You may make your kid a homemade chocolate bar or chocolate drink containing ‘Monellin’ as a sweetener so that you can take advantage of chocolate without it being damaging for the teeth.
Mastication/chewing inducing foods are less cariogenic as they produce saliva and cause remineralisation of the teeth and increase the pH of saliva. They include peanuts, other nuts, fruits and vegetables.