We are so excited for summer to be here! With kids being out of school and at home, it is important to have some healthy snack ideas for the summer months. The Little Chompers Pediatric Dentistry doctors understand that it is difficult to keep them away from sugary summer foods like soda and ice cream, but the more those can be limited the better!
Healthy Snack Ideas
Healthy snacks are going to be different for each age group of kids. However, the rule of thumb is to avoid processed and sugary snacks. It is summer and you can have some fun! Sugary snacks are not always terrible, but it is important to brush teeth as soon as possible after eating them. The longer that sugar is allowed to sit on the enamel of teeth, the more damage it does.
If you have a child who is still getting their teeth, we suggest foods that are soft and healthy! If your baby is still nursing or drinking formula, remember to wipe down their gums after eating so that bacteria does not build up in their mouth and cause an infection. If you have a toddler who does not have all of their teeth, remember to cut all foods into bite size pieces and monitor their eating for potential allergies or choking. Fruits and vegetables are usually the best choices for young kids. If your kids like yogurt, we recommend buying a whole milk version with very little added sugar. Any crackers should be whole grain and have very low sodium.
Kids Under Age 7
Kids under age seven (but are no longer babies) that have all of their baby teeth have a little more freedom when it comes to healthy snacks. However, it is important this age group has a good oral hygiene routine. Are they consistently brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes? Are they flossing at least once per day? Kids under age seven should still need guidance with brushing their teeth correctly. Make sure to remind them not to chew ice or other hard foods that could damage their teeth. Fruits and vegetables are always a great option for this group if you can get them to eat those. Do your best to limit their sweets and encourage as much water as possible.
Kids Over Age 7
We understand that the oral care of preteens and teenagers is much harder to monitor. This group does need to be reminded to keep good oral hygiene by brushing twice per day. We suggest checking to make sure they have toothpaste and floss available. Most kids have learned good oral hygiene to brush all on their own but they do need to see a pediatric dentist every six months for a cleaning. Fresh fruit and low sodium foods are a great healthy snack option for them too!
Foods to Avoid
The major foods to avoid are ones with lots of sugar or processing. Although schedules get busy, fast food is not great for oral health or eating habits. If you do choose to eat out, try to encourage fruits, veggies, salads or grilled foods. In all age groups, try to limit the amounts of juice and soda. Those drinks are filled with sugar and are terrible for teeth. Water is always the best option!
Schedule an Appointment
Remember to schedule your child’s cleaning ahead of time! Our summer calendar fills up quickly as many parents want their kids to get in before school starts back up. As always, give us a call with any questions or to schedule. We hope that you and your family have an amazing summer!