Every parent wants their child to live a healthy lifestyle, typically involving exercise, proper sleep and of course, a nutritious diet. However, many foods that are marketed as “healthy” are actually damaging your children’s teeth. So before you switch out all the junk food for healthy snacks, read about the following tooth-damaging foods:
Dried fruit needs to be avoided if you want to improve your child’s oral health. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts and none of the water that makes fruit healthy. Prunes are dried plums, but one cup contains more than 400 calories and 45 grams of sugar, while one plum contains just 75 calories and 16 grams of sugar. Choose fresh fruit over dried fruit for minimum sugar and maximum nutrients.
Smoothies are a fantastic way to get the nutritional benefits of fruit and mouth-healthy rewards of nonfat Greek yogurt. Unfortunately, many smoothies are made improperly and packed with sugar and calories. When you make or buy a smoothie, avoid figs, grapes, mangoes, pomegranates and cherries, as these fruits are high in sugar content.
Citric fruits like oranges, grapefruits and tangerines are high in acid, which leads to the erosion of tooth enamel. If you serve your child citrus fruits, rinse their mouth with water afterwards to wash away acid and prevent cavities.
Granola is often advertised as an alternative to cereal that can be eaten with milk or yogurt for an extra dietary benefit. However, granola typically contains high amounts of sugar and fat. This added sugar can lead to tooth decay and the density of calories can leave your child hungry and cause overeating. Always buy granola with the highest amount fiber and lowest amount of sugar.
Trail mix can be a great substitute for other unhealthy snack foods, but you need to keep an eye on the ingredients. Many trail mixes add chocolate, dried fruit or candy, which increases the amount of sugar and fat in each serving. Look for unflavored, unsweetened mixes that don’t contain any processed sugars.