Taking care of your kids’ dental health is important all year, but it is especially important to be conscious of what you are packing in your child’s lunchbox during the school year.

Dr. Mike Koumaras, founder and DDS at Best Dentist 4 Kids joins us on the show with his expert tips.

Bad vs Better lunch options:

  • BAD: Sandwiches. Whether you like PB & J or Ham & Cheese, they all contain one bad shared ingredient which is bread. White bread contains fermentable carbs that fuel cavity-causing dental plaque.
  • BETTER: A healthier alternative to white bread is whole grain bread. Whole grains promote healthier teeth and gums and they also tend to result in less plaque buildup.
  • BAD: Potato Chips. Lots of potato chips have the same effect as processed white bread, plus lots of chips also contain added flavors and ingredients which may be detrimental to tooth enamel when you eat them.
  • BETTER: Go for nutrient-dense foods that offer a healthy, alternative crunch like fruits and vegetables. Biting into a crispy apple, carrot stick, or nuts helps wipe away dental plaque while you chew it, stimulates gum tissues, and they’re packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • BAD: Juice boxes, drink pouches, soda, and sports drinks always have some type of natural or artificial sweetener which coats all of the teeth and delivers those sugars throughout the entire mouth.
  • BETTER: Water is fluoridated, which means it promotes healthier teeth and bones for added protection against cavities. If your child is hesitant, try to make it more fun by having them pick out a neat water thermos at the store or buy fun sparkling water flavors. You can also consider treating them to a juice box on Fridays only, so that they don’t have to go without it completely.
  • BAD: Sticky foods such as fruit snacks/chews, taffy, dried fruit, caramel, etc. are the worst when it comes to increased cavity rates. Sticky foods leave articles of food in your mouth and create cavity-causing acids.
  • BETTER: Consider substituting sticky treats with fresh berries, peaches, etc. Stick to fresh, softer foods that tend to wipe right off the teeth, instead of sticky foods that get stuck for the rest of the day.

You can find more advise and information about Dr. Mike and Best Dentists 4 Kids, here.