Smile Friendly Summer Snacks

three children eating apples

Alpharetta, GA – It’s summer, and that means sun, fun and yummy treats. But before you reach for that popsicle or ice cream cone, stop to think about your child’s dental health.

“We know it can be unreasonable to expect children to skip out on all the delicious treats that go along with summer,” says Dr. Nanna Ariaban, an Alpharetta children’s dentist. “But, it’s important that parents remember that these treats should be given in moderation, and employ a few additional strategies to keep their children’s smiles healthy and bright.”

First, limit the sweets. Sugar can quickly turn into decay if your child has too much and isn’t consistent with their oral hygiene. Offer sweets, such as ice cream and popsicles, only as treats, and not more than once a day. Allow them to indulge, but without getting carried away.

Read labels. It’s not only desserts and treats that you need to worry about sugar content in. Many prepackaged foods, as well as sodas and sports drinks are loaded with sugar. If you or your children have a soda habit, start breaking it now. Drink plenty of water instead.

Water should always be handy. Water should always be your go to drink to rehydrate in the summer. Not only is it better for you than soda or lemonade, but it can help promote saliva production and wash away the damaging bacteria and acid that can build up in your mouth.

If you do drink sodas, sip them through a straw. This can help prevent the sugars from coming into contact with teeth. Also, don’t sip on soda throughout the day, and try to enjoy a soda with a meal. As you chew your food, you’re producing saliva that can help wash away the sugars and bacteria. Every sip you take of a soda re-introduces these sugars to your mouth, so try to avoid drinking soda over a prolonged period of time.

Brush between snacks. Encourage your child to brush after snacking, whenever possible. If brushing isn’t an option, drink water or chew sugarless gum to rinse away the sugars.

Load up on the protein. Protein can protect your teeth against acid attacks, so make sure your child eats a diet with plenty of protein in it. Pack nuts and cheese sticks with you when you go out. Additionally, fruits and vegetables with high water content can act in a similar manner. Apples, pears and celery are great snacks to help rinse away bad bacteria.

Dr. Nanna also has some suggestions for healthier snacks for the summer. Frozen grapes are a great option for a cold, sweet snack on a hot day. When frozen, they’re almost like a popsicle, and can be a great treat to bring along to the pool or park.

Fresh berries are loaded with vitamins and are another delicious, sweet and healthy snack to enjoy this summer.

Buy tubes of yogurt and freeze them. Yogurt is full of calcium, which is great for building strong teeth and bones, and may also work to reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.

But perhaps the best tip this summer is to remember to encourage your children to maintain their dental hygiene. Schedules often go out the window as we embrace the slower days of summer, but don’t let your child’s teeth suffer because of it. Always be sure your children are brushing and flossing, and pay close attention to the snacks and treats they choose.

© 2018 Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, an Alpharetta, Johns Creek, and Roswell pediatric dentist, is credited as sole source.