They say, “You are what you eat.” Taking care of your teeth starts with what, when, and how you eat. Acronyms make for an easy way to recall helpful tips. So as you prepare snacks for your kids, keep these tips in mind. Oral Health Kansas recommends we simply remember “TEETH”.
T = Take Time to Plan Ahead
Keep wholesome snacks easy to access. When kids (and adults) are hungry, it’s easier to make healthy choices over junk food if good foods are readily available. You can start by making a grocery list with several items from the Food Pyramid.
E = Eat Balanced from the Food Pyramid
Eating a balanced diet is important for optimal health, and for maintaining vitamins that help to strengthen your teeth. “Sugar Bugs” cause nasty cavities, so eliminate sugar whenever possible. Instead, opt for fresh fruits and veggies, milk and cheeses, lean meats, and whole grains.
E = Everything in Moderation
It is alright to grant yourself (and your kids) a break occasionally. During a birthday or holiday, a cake or treats are permissible in moderation. Just make sure that junk foods aren’t a routine part of your family’s diet.
T = Timing is Important
You may not have known this, but your mouth has more acidic saliva directly after eating. It is a normal part of the digestive process, but if you allow your kids to drink and graze on foods all day, the acid in their mouths can cause tooth decay. Instead, it is recommended to try to keep a regular eating and snacking routine, accompanied with plenty of water. And don’t forget to brush afterwards!
H = Have Fun with Food
Sit down and eat with your children, whenever possible. Eating food together is a wonderful shared experience. It is important to supervise little children when they are eating to help prevent choking, but just being together is fun. Arrange food in funny and clever ways to look like animals or objects. Try new recipes in the kitchen. And more than anything, remember to SMILE!