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Pediatric Dentist Recs : Lunch Ideas that are Good for your Teeth

Packing your child's lunch can become monotonous and full of easy "grab and go" options, such as Lunchables, chips, packaged snacks, and whatnot. While those things are fine in moderation, not only are they unhealthy for our bodies, but they are unhealthy for our teeth!

Pediatric dentists know that lunches need to be able to fuel the rest of your child's day. Luckily there are lots of yummy foods that your kids will love AND are dentist approved:

Raw fruits and veggies

Apple slices, baby carrots, cucumbers, and pears are just a few examples of easy "low prep" food that will give your kid a natural sugar boost and won't cause cavities! All the chewing of these foods also disrupts bacteria-filled plaque and cleanses the teeth and gums. The saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" should be changed to "an apple a day keeps the dentist away" (Ok, we don't want you to stay away, but apples are great for your teeth!)

fruits and veggiesNuts

If your child's school doesn't allow peanuts, that's ok, because there are lots of good nut alternatives out there now, including sunflower butter, almond butter, and more. Raw nuts, like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and cashews, are a good sources of protein. Nuts are also full of health benefits for your teeth! They are packed with tons of important elements like calcium and phosphorus. Especially beneficial are almonds, brazil nuts, and cashews, which help to fight bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Who knew?!

nuts for school lunch is a good optoin

Milk & dairy products

Did you know dairy products are good for your teeth? Dairy contains casein proteins, which form a protective film on the surface of your teeth. These proteins protect the hard outer layer of your teeth (known as enamel) from decay. Your teeth are under attack by acids and bacteria every day. Cow's milk remineralizes the enamel while supplying the body with essential vitamins and minerals. Some foods (such as lemons) are bad for your teeth because they’re so acidic. Cheese and yogurt, on the other hand, are almost pH neutral. This means they're much better for your teeth. So pack up those cheese sticks and yogurt pouches, more examples of "low prep" foods for perfect for lunch boxes!

drinking milk

Eggs & bananas

Eggs and bananas both contain essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs contain vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus.  Bananas contain vitamin C and vitamin B6, as well as fiber. In addition, they provide a wide variety of minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. These minerals can help strengthen tooth enamel, so they're very good for the teeth. Think breakfast for lunch when packing these items. You can make ahead hard boiled eggs, egg and cheese sandwiches, or mini egg frittatas, add a banana to the lunchbox, and lunch is done!

back to school graphic

Meat

Any type of lean meat, such as chicken, is good as a source of protein for your teeth and gums. Lean cuts are a great source of phosphorus, a type of nutritional mineral that helps bone production and remodeling. Red meat and even organ meats are especially beneficial. Fatty fish (like salmon) and tofu are also great for your teeth. Pack tunafish sandwiches, shish kabobs, or hoagie sandwiches for lunches! 
lunch meat sandwich

Of course, there are always foods you should avoid while packing your child's lunch. Besides the obvious, like candy, you might be surprised at some other foods that you shouldn't pack:

Fruit gummies or fruit roll ups -- even the ones made from "all natural fruit juice"

Fruit snacks are packed with non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap sugars on and around the tooth, actually making it worse than candy! These fruity little snacks may be convenient for school lunch, but they're not a healthy option!

Capri-Sun, Sunny D or Gatorade drinks

Capri-Suns might be tasty and Sunny D might just be nostalgic for you, but these drinks contain a low Ph level, activating cavity-causing bacteria! And parents might think kids need electrolytes to keep hydrated, but sports drinks are actually not appropriate for children, unless they're losing large amounts of fluids. High electrolyte content can actually cause imbalances in your child's system. Plus, Gatorades have one of the highest levels of added sugars, which can cause cavities!
gatorade and other sugary drinks aren't recommended

Pickles

Pickles are tasty (and the mini containers are super fun!) but actually not really beneficial for your teeth. Even though they're made from a vegetable, they're preserved in a vinegar brine which is extremely acidic. Regular snacking on pickles can cause enamel erosion and lead to discoloration and gum sensitivity.

PDC logo

Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis takes both the child’s and the parents’ feelings into account when we provide dental care. You are free to accompany your child through every part of their dental visit. Our kid-friendly demeanor helps children feel at ease and using age-appropriate language allows them understand what is going on. We encourage and teach children how to care for their teeth in order to establish a solid foundation for a beautiful smile for a lifetime. PDC has 4 Pediatric Dentists on staff and two locations to choose from.

Check our their Instagram page here

Check out their Facebook page here

Or head straight to their website to learn more about their dental services offered

You can also make an appointment by calling the White Station location 901-560-4386
or Kirby Center Cove location 901-363-8192

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