It’s that exciting time of year again and if they haven’t already, soon the school buses will be shuttling your little ones off to school. One thing on the mind of many parents is what to pack for a healthy school lunch. It’s important to remember that a healthy lunch should also be healthy for teeth to keep cavities and other oral health issues under control. There are several things to consider when packing the perfect lunch, and we will go through them here so that your child can start the school year off strong and healthy.
What to Pack
Foods that are rich in calcium such as cheese, yogurt and milk are critical for teeth and bone health. In teeth, calcium helps to strengthen and build tooth enamel. There are also a few studies have also recently shown that cheese also contains special proteins that can help prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth. Vitamin D is also essential as it helps the body absorb calcium. This can be found in foods fortified with it, or naturally in things like fish and egg yolks.
Vitamins A, B and C help with a number of things, particularly with gum health and the synthesis of proteins that are important to strong, healthy teeth. These vitamins are fortified in many foods (read the labels!) but are found naturally in things like oranges, fish, eggs, vegetables, poultry, kale, etc.
An adequate amount of protein and water are also very important in maintaining oral health. Water will help your little ones rinse away bacteria or food that is left over on the teeth after they have eaten their lunch. Fruits and vegetables that are crunchy will help clear away bacteria that are sticking to teeth, as they increase chewing and saliva in the mouth.
What to Avoid
Avoid carbohydrate heavy lunches, especially those heavy in sugar and starch. These food are not only poor for overall health, but they increase plaque on teeth which can lead to cavities and other oral health issues.