February is National Snack Month. Snacking done right is healthy for helping kids stay focused while giving them essential nutrients to stave off hunger. But the “what” and “when” of snacking are key. Learn tips to help your children snack healthily and protect their smiles. Call Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry today at 813-576-0200 to learn more about keeping kids’ smiles strong and healthy.
Children and teens should eat about every three to four hours during the day to help support their active, growing bodies (and to support the MyPlate daily food plan.)
When it comes to planning out healthy snacking, consider the ages of your children. Younger children should eat three meals with at least two snacks spread out between the means during the day. Older kids also need three meals but only need one snack (unless they are very physically active, or you can tell they are going through a growth spurt.)
If a snack before bedtime is needed, consider offering your child a protein-carb combo, such as a glass of milk and a graham cracker or crackers and cheese. Avoid chocolate, which has caffeine and may make it more difficult for your child to sleep.
Snacking or drinking sugary drinks all day can wreak havoc on your teeth. The acids created after eating can wear down the enamel of your child’s teeth allowing decay to creep in (and teeth yellowing to occur).
Our team at Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry can assess your child’s oral health and let you know what areas you need to work on. We are here to help you! Call us at 813-576-0200 to schedule an appointment.
The easiest rule of thumb when choosing snacks is to select snacks with the least ingredients; choose whole foods whenever possible. Fresh fruits, raw vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and dairy products are filling, full of nutrients, and great choices to support healthy smiles.
Get in the habit of reading food labels to ensure that foods aren’t packed with added sugars. Don’t let the marketing fool you. Something may claim to be high in vitamins but that doesn’t mean it is healthy. If it’s high in added sugars, the vitamin boosts aren’t really helping you.
Healthy eating (and snacking) means selecting a variety of types of food for your child during the day to help them get the nutrients they need. Your child needs vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fiber, and — yes — even fat. Balance out what your child eats in a day to help them stay balanced.
A child that is left to mindless eating or grazing all day can suffer from fatigue, weight gain, getting sick and other health conditions. Help set your child up with a lifetime of success with food by laying down foundations of wellness. (And remember, they watch your example too! If it isn’t good for your child, it isn’t good for you either.)
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children 2 to 11 have had dental cavities in their primary (baby) teeth. Here are some tips to consider when helping your child snack healthy and be healthy:
The extra efforts to take today to safeguard your child’s smile will make all the difference to your child’s oral wellness now and in the future.
Now is a great time to have an exam and cleaning to get the year off to the right start. Involving Dr. Botero in your child’s care this year will help you in your goal for healthy teeth. Dr. Botero and her friendly staff at Li’l Sunshine Smiles are here to help guide you and your child to excellent oral wellness. A consultation with our team can help identify what your child needs to keep her oral health where it needs to be.
Call us today at 813-576-0200 to make an appointment and to learn more tips for healthy teeth this year.