August means kids nationwide are heading back to school. If your children will skip the dreaded lunch lady line in favor of packing their own meals, you’ll want to make sure they’re making healthy choices. Tooth decay is the leading chronic childhood disease in the US, and resulting dental illnesses cause kids to miss more than 51 million hours of school each year. Dental issues can cause problems eating, sleeping, concentrating and learning. Plus, they can make children embarrassed or afraid to smile, which can significantly affect their social development. Any parent whose child has trouble making friends knows how heartbreaking this can be.
To help assure good dental health and a successful school experience, Grove City Dental’s Dr. Scott D. Schumann, DDS offers these tips for tooth-friendly lunch and snack items that will protect your children’s dental health:
- Baked chicken or turkey
- Whole grain sandwich breads
- Peanut butter
- Whole wheat crackers
- Plain bagels
- Swiss cheese slices
- Cheddar cheese squares
- Cottage cheese
- Pumpkin seeds (unsalted or low-salt)
- Sunflower seeds (unsalted or low-salt)
- Nuts (unsalted or low-salt)
- Apples or all-natural apple sauce with no added sugar
- Baby carrots
Keep in mind that while any fruit is better than, say, a chocolate bar or a Twinkie, some fruits like grapes and pineapples have a high natural sugar content, and thus are less healthy for your teeth. Include them in limited amounts and along with low-sugar fruits. And if you’re thinking “there’s no way my kid will eat celery,” just a little creativity will help. Think “bugs on a log,” a popular snack of celery sticks topped with peanut butter and blueberries. If it looks fun, they’ll eat it – even if it’s healthy.
Also, make sure your child gets his or her back-to-school dental checkup. Call 614-808-1700 to schedule an appointment at Grove City Dental today.