Snacking Tips To Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy

GOOD NUTRITION IS ESSENTIAL for a child’s healthy growth and development. It’s also important for their dental health! A good diet can help your child build strong, healthy teeth, while poor eating habits puts your child at a higher risk of tooth decay.

You may understand how important nutritious meals are, but one thing some parents struggle with is snack time. Here are our best tips on how to make sure your child’s snack time is tooth-friendly!

Not All Snacks Are Created Equal

Stay away from starchy, sticky or sugary foods during snack time like crackers, chips and cookies. These types of snacks can stick to the teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing cavities. For snack time it’s best to opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and cheese.

If You Indulge, Do It During Mealtime

Don’t worry, we don’t expect you or your child to never eat sweets or starches. There is a better time to eat them than at snack time, however, and that is during meals! That’s because it’s not just important what you eat, but when you eat. At mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that can help wash away those starches or sugary treats, counteract acid-producing bacteria and remineralize teeth.

Watch Out For Added Sugars

Almost all foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars–like those found in milk and vegetables–are less worrisome, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to keep an eye out for when choosing snacks are added sugars.

According to the American Dental Association, added sugar consumption should be limited to less than 10 percent of total energy intake, ideally less than five percent. To put things in perspective, one can of soda is equivalent to three times the daily recommended sugar intake of a child!

Choose Beverages Wisely

On that note, we’d like to advise parents to choose their children’s beverages wisely. Soda and juice may be your child’s preferred drinks, but milk and water are much healthier choices. Good sources of calcium, like milk, aid in building strong teeth and bones and water helps to wash away food particles that may be clinging to teeth, thus protecting against decay.

Sip All Day, Get Decay

Whether your child is drinking milk, juice or soda, don’t let them sip it throughout the day. Constant consumption of either food or drink is harmful for teeth, because not only are you feeding yourself, you’re also feeding the cavity-causing bacteria that reside in your mouth. Limit snacking to once or twice a day and have your child sip on water. If they drink anything that contains sugar, have them drink it during mealtimes or all at once.

Your Family’s Health Is Our Priority

If you have any tips or healthy snack ideas that your kids love, leave it in the comments below! At our practice, we care about the health of your whole family. Proper nutrition, especially at snack time, will ensure healthy smiles for you and your children for a lifetime!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Three “Tooth Fairy” Ideas From Around The World

If you have a child, you’ve probably had a discussion or two about the Tooth Fairy.  Dental practices like Visalia Childrens Dental Surgery Center get a lot of questions about the best way to handle the Tooth Fairy. Some parents absolutely love leaving money and treats for their children, and other parents feel a little conflicted about it.  Some may feel like they’re being dishonest with their child, and others may think that believing in the tooth fairy could set up some false expectations for being rewarded for relatively small things.  If you’re on the fence about the Tooth Fairy, it may reassure you to learn that almost every culture around the world has a tradition for children that lose their baby teeth.  Losing baby teeth is a milestone for children everywhere.  If you aren’t that into the traditional tooth fairy setup, you could adopt one of these rituals from around the world.

Toss your teeth

Putting baby teeth under a pillow is traditional, but it isn’t very exciting.  Some children in Asian countries take a more active role in their tooth loss celebration, and will throw try to throw their lost baby tooth over the roof or under their house!  Some may also call out a wish for their missing tooth to get replaced by mice teeth.  Mice have teeth that constantly grow, so it makes sense that they’d want healthy and plentiful teeth.  Surprisingly, this isn’t the only mouse related tooth lose tradition…

Get a visit from the tooth mouse

Spain and other Hispanic cultures have their own unique version of the Tooth Fairy, but theirs is a little furrier than ours.  When Spanish children lose a tooth, they can expect a visit from Ratocinto Perez, an adorable mouse that collects baby teeth.  Like the Tooth Fairy, this mouse comes at night to collect baby teeth from kids and in exchange for money and other treats.  Some children in Argentina shy away from leaving things under pillows, and they leave their teeth in glasses of water.  Tooth collecting can be hard work, and Ratocinto Perez will drink the water and leave their gift in the empty cup!

Bury your baby teeth

Do you have a child that loves to play in the sandbox?  If so, you may want to reconsider putting their baby teeth underneath their pillow.  Some European children bury their baby teeth once they fall out.  Some view the act as “planting” their old tooth so that a new healthy tooth appears.  Either way, it’s a fun method for getting your child excited about losing their baby teeth!