Save on pet insurance with Pets Best!Learn More

close

Healthy Tooth-Friendly Back-to-School Snack Ideas

Healthy Tooth-Friendly Back-to-School Snack Ideas

Snacks fuel children’s active, growing bodies. From violin lessons to soccer practice — and schoolwork in between — it’s important for your kids’ snacks to keep them energized and focused.

But sometimes healthy snacks aren’t so healthy for teeth.

Choosing snacks that are good for your child’s teeth can help prevent cavities and protect braces, which means fewer dental issues — and lower dental care bills.

Here’s a round-up of some popular snacks that can harm your child’s teeth, and some healthy snack alternatives.

Tooth-Friendly Snack: Yogurt

Substitute for: gelatin or pudding

Plain yogurt without added sugar is great for your child’s teeth: This wonder-snack is packed with probiotics that can help heal mouth sores, get rid of bad bacteria in your child’s mouth, and promote healthy gums.

Yogurt is also great for kids with braces, as it’s gentle on the teeth, won’t get stuck in hard-to-reach places and hardly requires chewing.

Are braces covered by dental insurance? >

Fun tip: Freeze sugar-free yogurt in a popsicle mold for a healthy alternative to sugary popsicles in the summer months.

Tooth-Friendly Snack: Whole Grain Pita Chips and Hummus

Substitute for: popcorn

Movie night isn’t complete without popcorn, but the buttery treat can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth.

Kernels and popcorn pieces can easily get lodged between teeth and lead to tooth decay. And once you get to the bottom of the bag, accidentally crunching down on an un-popped kernel can chip or crack your child’s tooth.

Members save an average of 36% on dental procedures with Guardian. Find the plan for you!

Popcorn is especially hard on your child’s teeth if they have braces, as the kernels are difficult to remove from between the braces. Here are some tips on how to floss with braces.

If your kids aren’t sold on the idea of crunchy cucumber slices as an alternative to a salty snack like popcorn, try whole grain pita chips with sea salt and hummus, guacamole or a yogurt-based ranch dip.

These healthier options aren’t just better for teeth — they’re typically more healthful alternatives overall.

Tooth-Friendly Snack: Cheese

Substitute for: potato chips

 Potato chips are starchy and can easily get stuck between your child’s teeth, which feeds acid-producing bacteria. This acidic bacteria can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

But believe it or not, cheese is great for your child’s teeth. Like yogurt, cheese helps cut down on the growth of plaque. Cheese also contains calcium, which is absorbed by your child’s tooth enamel and creates stronger teeth that can fight bacteria growth.

If that isn’t enough proof of cheese’s benefits, the amount of chewing involved in eating cheese also means the mouth produces more saliva, which helps lower plaque build-up.

Tooth-Friendly Snack: Fresh Apples and Pears

Substitute for: dried fruit and fruit snacks

 Although both fresh and dried fruit contain sugar, the chewy, tacky consistency of dried fruit can stick to nooks and crannies. This concentrated sugar can invite bacteria and cavities to take over.

The same goes for sticky, chewy fruit snacks, which are also usually packed with extra sugar — even worse for your child’s teeth than dried fruit.

Avoid citrus fruits like oranges too, as the high acid content can erode tooth enamel.

Fruit like fresh apples and pears, on the other hand, have high water content which helps dilute the fruit’s sugars.

The crunchy, fibrous meat of the fruit also encourages saliva production, which protects against cavities by washing away food particles and acid build-up from the sugar.

Fruit-Friendly Snack: Flavored Water

Substitute for: fruit juice

Fruit juice may seem like a healthy option for your kids at first blush, but it has more concentrated sugar than eating fresh fruit. In fact, pediatricians advise against giving fruit juice to children under a year old.

Fresh fruit fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar by the body, which means your child will eat less before feeling full — and there will be less sugar eating away at their teeth.

Water is ideal, but when was the last time your kids were excited about a glass of water?

Naturally flavored, sugar-free water (carbonated if your kids like that!) is a more kid-friendly alternative to fruit juice than plain water. But some flavored waters still contain quite a bit of sugar and calories, so look for one that only has water and natural ingredients in the label.

If you have a young athlete, they’ve probably turned to sports drinks for hydration and electrolytes. While they may give an energy boost, sports drinks aren’t always great for your kids’ teeth.

Fun tip: Make your own spritzers by adding fresh raspberries, blueberries or apples to carbonated water. It can be a fun way to experiment together! Beware of too many raspberries or blueberries, though, as these colorful fruit can stain teeth!

Some of these snacks are surprising, and there are even more foods that are unexpectedly bad for your teeth >

 

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. #2017-44086 (exp. 7/19)

Recent Posts

blog

What to Do When COBRA Coverage Ends: Your Options

If you’ve lost your employer-provided health or dental insurance...

blog

3 Common Mouth Problems You’re Ignoring — And What It’ll Cost You

Tooth decay, sore gums and cracked teeth—though minor at...

blog

Dental Insurance vs. Dental Discount Plans Comparison Chart

Trying to decide between dental insurance and a dental...

blog

Healthy Tooth-Friendly Back-to-School Snack Ideas

Some popular snacks can harm your child’s teeth. Check...

blog

Individual Dental Insurance Is on the Rise: Do You Need It?

Here are the Americans who are contributing to the...

How can we help you?

Learn More About Guardian

Guardian has been a trusted name in insurance for over 155 years. Today, we have one of the largest dental insurance networks in the country where you can save an average of 36% on dental procedures. Learn More About Guardian »

Find a Dentist

Find a Dentist »

With a nationwide network of providers, we can help you find a provider.
Start Your Search

Our Plans

Our Plans »

One size never fits all—find out what Guardian can offer you and your family.
View Our Plans

Documents & Forms

Documents & Forms »

Get the forms you need here.

Contact Us

Contact Us »

Whether you're looking for a new plan or are an existing member, we're here to help.

Get a quote sidebar link

Protect yourself and your family today.