A yummy snack can give your child a boost of energy and help them make it to dinnertime without complaining about hunger. If they forget their lunch at home, they can even grab a few items out of a school vending machine to sustain them until they get home. Unfortunately, however, some snacks pose a threat to your young one’s oral health. Your children’s dentist in Marble Falls is here to discuss the consequences that certain foods can have on precious little smiles.
Vending Machine Snacks: High in Sugar, Low in Nutritional Value
Many schools have vending machines that are available to students. Sadly, the vast majority of these machines are chock-full of items like candy, soda, and chips. These sugary, starchy treats tend to cling to teeth and promote plaque production. Regularly consuming such foods can lead to dire consequences for teeth, including decay, stains, and even gingivitis.
Younger children are especially vulnerable to the dangers of vending machine snacks. They tend to eat whatever is available rather than giving careful thought to the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of the things they’re consuming. If more schools chose to have vending machines with wholesome foods and drinks in them, such as milk, fruits, and vegetables, that could go a long way toward promoting healthier teeth and bodies for children.
Encouraging Children to Make Wise Snack Choices
How can you save your child from the smile-destroying consequences of vending machine snacks? Here are a few tips to help your little one cultivate good habits:
- Pack a healthy lunch for them. It’s okay to include candies or cookies in there once in a while, but most of the foods you include should be low in sugar. If your child loves sugar (which most kids do), give them fresh fruit to satiate their sweet tooth.
- Set a good example. If your kids see you eating lots of fruits and veggies and staying away from junk food, they’re likely to follow suit.
- Talk to your kids about how sugar can affect their teeth, and educate them on how to properly brush and floss.
- Enlist your dentist’s help. The professionals in your local dental office are great at motivating kids to stick to good oral hygiene habits. They can also coach you on how you can create a tooth-friendly environment at home.
- Speak to local officials about the vending machines in your child’s school and ask if it is possible for them to switch to vending companies that offer healthier choices.
Your child’s snack choices can have a big impact on their smile! Do your best to help your little one make wise choices so their teeth and gums can stay strong and healthy.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Ritchie provides excellent oral healthcare to families in Marble Falls. He has undergone extensive continuing education in pediatric dentistry and would love to help your little one maintain a healthy smile! To schedule an appointment with him for your child, contact our office at 830-693-8833.