The beginning of the new school year is a busy time for children and parents. In the midst of making the necessary adaptations, you have to be concerned with what your child is eating. While you have the option of letting him or her eat a school lunch, can you be certain that the food and beverages served will be nutrient dense? Your dentist in Harker Heights says it’s best to know about the pitfalls of eating school lunch so you can fortify your child’s oral health and make your next dental visit a pleasant one!
How School Lunch Can Contribute to Cavities
The main nemesis of excellent oral health is sugar. The more that is consumed, the greater the chance of plaque and cavities forming. Lingering sugar particles quickly attract bacteria that seek to feed on the leftovers. As the bacteria digest the sugar, they release acids that can eventually wear down the enamel and allow cavities to form.
Throughout the day, your child has the opportunity to partake in a host of foods and drinks that are averse to excellent oral health. One of the biggest threats is the vending machine, known for containing a variety of junk food-beverage options. To make matters worse, the typical school cafeteria serves its fair share of processed foods, breads, desserts and sugary drinks.
What if You Decide to Pack a Lunch?
One way to regain some nutritional sovereignty is to pack a lunch at home. It allows you to have greater input in what your child will be eating while at school. Here are some helpful guidelines to follow:
- Don’t include any sticky foods that cling to the teeth.
- Be sure to include a combination of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and calcium fortified products (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.).
- Pack a sugar-free flavored beverage to curb sugar cravings and the consumption of unhealthy beverages.
It’s also a good idea to pack a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste. Therefore, if your child has time, he or she can brush after eating. If time is limited, consider packing a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash.
What Else You Can Do at Home
Although you may put forward the best efforts, your child will still be tempted to indulge in unhealthy eating and drinking while at school. One way to combat that is to provide nutritious foods and beverages at home. Therefore, the healthy lifestyle patterns you’ve created will carry over at school.
It’s also a must to instill healthy dental hygiene habits at home and monitor your child’s efforts to ensure that no bad habits develop. At a minimum, you should encourage a twice-daily dental hygiene schedule.
By taking the time to plan and execute, you can have the peace-of-mind of knowing that your child’s teeth and gums are better protected, which amounts to a healthier and happier life!
About the Author
Dr. Jennifer Hoang earned her dental degree from the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Since then, she has remained an active learner, taking several hours of continuing education yearly. A compassionate and thorough professional, Dr. Hoang provides preventive care for the entire family at Market Heights Family Dental, and she can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through her website.