A well-balanced diet can provide all the essential nutrients to the body. Moreover, it is an excellent mixture of taste and health proportions.

Non-healthy food such as sweet snacks and carbohydrates which are deficient in nutrition often makes our mouth prone to oral infections and dental diseases.

Often, kids love to snack in between meals. But frequent snacking on sweets, bread or sugary drinks can cause damage to their healthy teeth at a young age.

Smart snacking is the new trendy way of maintaining oral health. This process involves strategic time planning and selection of healthy snacks. (1)

Change of unhealthy diet to nutritious one will also help to teach good eating habits among children. Additionally, healthy food will always keep them energized and fresh.

Some of the best snacks include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, dairy products, and low-fat proteins.

Parents can find new innovative recipes to cook healthy yet delicious food for their family. Let’s continue to read the article to educate ourselves about smart snacking and its benefits to oral health.

What are the disadvantages of eating sweet food?

Although sugary snacks are everyone’s favorite, they can be extremely damaging to the teeth. Cake, candies, and cookies have an excessive amount of sugars and carbohydrates. These elements are the thriving food for oral bacteria. (2)

Oral bacteria ferment the sugars in the mouth and produce bacterial acids that cause erosion of the enamel. Furthermore, acid erosion makes the tooth susceptible to tooth decay.

Increased frequency of sugar food intake can eventually affect all the teeth and cause tooth loss and gum disease.

How can smart snacking help you to maintain healthy teeth?

Smart snacking is a way to control and teach your kids to eat healthy food at the right time. It prevents them from indulging into the harmful habit of eating sugary food more often than once in a day.

Following the tips given below will help you to plan your smart snacking schedule –

  • The best way to plan a smart snack schedule is to know about the nutritious value of the food. (3)
  • Avoid sticky and sugary snacks. Instead, switch to fresh fruits, vegetables or nuts.
  • Include a lot of low-fat food rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Prepare a fixed schedule to eat a whole snack at a particular time.
  • Follow a good oral healthcare routine after eating the snack.

What food items are considered as smart snacks?

Practically, there are four main categories of smart snacks that you can choose from –

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables – this category includes oranges, grapefruit, banana, pears, pineapple, tangerines, broccoli, celery, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, unsweetened fresh fruit juices and canned fruits in natural juices.
  • Whole grains – whole wheat bread, plain bagels, unsweetened cereal, low salt pretzels, and pasta are all a good choice for a one-time snack.
  • Dairy products – low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are excellent snacks which also neutralizes the acids in the mouth.
  • Nuts and meat – chicken meat, turkey, almonds, cashew, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are a good source of omega-3 and essential nutrients.

Selecting food items from this list will help to maintain a healthy mouth and body. Moreover, it will help in healthy growth and development of children over the years. (4)

Maintaining a disciplined schedule also teaches good habits among children at a young age. These habits are a lesson for life.

Parental advice to keep a check on their child’s dental health

As parents, it is of utmost importance to keep a check on the type of food consumed by your child and also on the oral habits your child follows.

Always make sure to limit the consumption of sticky food rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Glucose is the favorite food element for oral bacteria. Failure to maintain a healthy diet can lead to increased incidence of tooth decay and gum disease.

Follow the tips given below and make your child’s life a happy and healthy one –

  • Encourage the kids to select their favorite food from the list of quick snacks.
  • Fix one particular time in the evening and ask the kids to follow that schedule for eating a snack.
  • Treating the kids with sugary food once in a while is fine but make sure they follow a good oral healthcare routine after eating.
  • A good oral healthcare routine includes brushing the teeth or rinsing the mouth with water after every meal.
  • You can also consult a dietician or your dentist to discuss the benefits of having a balanced diet and smart snacking.

Take away message

One of the primary reasons for the increase in tooth decay especially among kids is the consumption of excessive sweet food or drinks.

Food rich in sugars and carbohydrate often gets stuck to the teeth. Oral bacteria feed on these food particles and ferment them to produce bacterial acids which can damage the tooth surface.

Furthermore, these food particles cause plaque accumulation and eventually leads to poor oral hygiene.

Inculcating good dietary habits right from childhood can help the kids to live a long healthy life. Parents should take every measure to encourage the consumption of nutritious food in the house.

To maintain a balanced diet, you can mix fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, proteins, and dairy products in your food.

All these food items are filled with vitamins and minerals. At the same time, they make an excellent ingredient for some of the delicious dishes.

While choosing a snack, also keep in mind to set a fixed time of snacking and follow the schedule regularly. This will help to train your mind and body to eat within limits.

Now that you know the excellent way of maintaining good oral health go out to shop for your favorite smart snack and live a healthy life.

Some of the best snacks include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, dairy products, and low-fat proteins.