Mommy's Time Out Magazine April 2017 | Page 18

Try These Smile-Friendly After School Snacks! When your children come home from school, they often run straight for the pantry! Kids can be a bit hungry after a long day in the classroom and we want to help you provide snacks that won’t only fill their bellies, but will benefit their smile as well! Consuming a lot of starchy and sugary treats in the afternoon can do a number on a child’s teeth—not to mention ruin their appetite for dinner! Sticky, sugary snacks can adhere to your child’s teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing harmful cavities. In order to avoid snack-induced cavities and other oral health concerns, try these ideas instead:  Cheese, Milk, and Yogurt - Dairy is the go-to dental snack for a reason! Few other foods give such a great boost of calcium. Cheese and yogurt even help cut acidity, helping protect your child’s teeth from erosion caused by acidic fruit juices. If your child doesn’t just want plain yogurt, fruit and yogurt parfaits are a great option to add some flavor and healthy vitamins to their snack.  High Protein Foods - Nuts, seeds and peanut butter are excellent high-protein snacks for most children. However, caution should be used when offering these snacks to children under the age of 2 as they may have allergies or be at risk for chocking.  Leafy Greens and Fresh Veggies - Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens have calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, and magnesium–all essential for healthy teeth and gums. Veggies like broccoli and celery are great too! In addition to being rich in vitamins, broccoli has been shown to create an acid-resistant teeth “shield.” As for celery, because of its fibrous material, it massages gums, cleans teeth, and encourages saliva production—making it a natural tooth scrubber! If your kids like a little crunch in their snack, you could even try making homemade veggie chips. Simply mix your veggies with enough olive oil to coat them, add any spices you’d like, and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, flip your veggies, and then bake until crispy!  Fruit High in Vitamin C - A lack of vitamin C can break down the collagen network in our gums, making them tender and more susceptible to bacteria and gum disease. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and kiwi are great sources of Vitamin C. To make their citrus snack fun, you can make fun kabobs with some citrus, berries, and some of their favorite cheeses. Your child’s mouth health goes hand in hand with his/her body wellness. When you limit or avoid sticky, sugary snacks and drinks, you are not only helping to protect their teeth but also their overall health.