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No Tradesies: Packing Mouth-Healthy Lunches for Kiddos

Posted on June 27th, 2021

Houston dentist, Dr. Meghna Dassani at Dassani Dentistry , suggests what foods to add to your child’s school lunch to nourish their oral and overall health.Breakfast is always being touted as the most important meal of the day—and for good reason! It’s important for families to kickstart their day with nutrients that will help them power through school, work, socializing, sports, homework… does anyone else feel exhausted just thinking about it all? 

The right foods in your child’s lunch can help boost their energy and keep those brains, bodies, and mouths going all day! Alternatively, lunches full of sugary, sticky, acidic foods and beverages can accelerate tooth decay and cause your child to feel sluggish both physically and mentally.

Dr. Meghna Dassani of Dassani Dentistry loves to share ideas on what to include in your child’s lunch to keep their smile safe and their health optimal… and perhaps what to leave out and have as an occasional treat for good behavior. 

But First, Hydration

About 65% of a child’s body is made up of water (60% for adult men, 55% for adult women), and it’s important for this balance to be maintained. Water is the best choice for hydrating for the following reasons:

  • Water tends to be neutral instead of acidic or alkaline, which makes it safe for the teeth.
  • It helps prevent dry mouth (xerostomia), which creates a breeding ground for dangerous, decay and gum disease-causing bacteria.
  • Being adequately hydrated helps aid proper digestion.
  • Water regulates body temperature.
  • It helps deliver oxygen throughout the body.
  • Keeps joints lubricated and is a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord.
  • Flushes waste from the body, mostly through urine.

Encourage your child to keep their mouth and body healthy by sending them to school with a refillable water bottle rather than a bottle of juice or soda.

Now for the Flavor

You probably guessed that Dr. Meghna Dassani would recommend fruits and veggies, right? There are so many tasty options, and their vitamin and mineral content makes them an excellent choice for both oral and overall health. Our favorites are:

  • Apples 
  • Oranges
  • Limes
  • Kiwis
  • Cantaloupe
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries

Each of these fruits contains vitamin C, which can help kill bacteria and promote a healthy supply of collagen in the gums. We do suggest your child waits for at least 30 minutes to brush their teeth after eating fruits because the citric acid combined with brushing can weaken tooth enamel and cause erosion. (Everyone should wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after eating, but especially with highly sugary or acidic foods and drinks.)

Veggie Time

They may not be your child’s favorite, but veggies are full of goodness for mouth and body health. The following choices naturally scrape away plaque that can build up between meals or be missed when your child brushes:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber

Sandwiches & Snacks

If you’ve been wondering: “What about protein?” we’ve got you covered. We recommend using whole grain wheat bread and enamel-building meats like chicken and turkey. Including cheese will help your child get calcium, vitamin D, and phosphate, too. You can also go with the classic PB & J! 

Hard-boiled eggs are another good source of protein. For more fiber, folic acid, iron, vitamin E, potassium, and zinc, add nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts, as well as sunflower and pumpkin seeds!

We know it can be a bit more difficult if you have picky eaters at home, but these foundations are good to keep in mind. At Dassani Dentistry , we love to find recipes that some of these ingredients can hide in, ensuring our young ones get the health benefits without even knowing it!

A proper diet will go a long way toward keeping your child’s smile healthy, but it’s still important to bring them in for thorough, gentle cleanings and cavity prevention methods. We love seeing their smiling faces, too, so contact Dassani Dentistry today to schedule an appointment!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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About Meghna Dassani, DMD

Dr. Meghna Dassani received her initial dental training from the University of Mumbai, India, where she graduated in 1996 as Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). After working as an associate for one year, she established her own practice in Mumbai, India. She successfully operated this practice for six years prior to moving to the US. When Dr. Meghna Dassani is not in the office she is at home being a mommy to her 2 beautiful girls and enjoying time relaxing with her husband. Since opening her own practice in 2011 she doesn’t have a lot of free time but when the time allows she enjoys traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, visiting with friends and family and of course SHOPPING with a Starbucks in her hand!

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