Tooth decay is a huge problem and increasing numbers of children need hospital care to remove or treat multiple rotting teeth. The biggest culprits are highly processed sugary foods and drinks, which are often found in children’s lunch boxes. Sugary foods feed bacteria linked to tooth decay and which produce acid that erodes the tooth enamel, eventually causing cavities.
Did you know a school lunchbox could easily contain more than 40 teaspoons or 160g of sugar? The recommended limit for Australian children and adults is just 51g each day. In addition to causing dental problems, obesity and weight-related health problems are an increasing concern.
Tooth decay affects a child’s ability to smile, eat, socialise and even to speak properly. A child in pain or discomfort from dental problems is less likely to concentrate at school. Here at Coastal Smiles, we are very concerned about children’s dental health, so we’ve put together a few tips for healthy lunch boxes.
- Swap white bread for wholemeal or multigrain bread.
- Add a slice of cheese to your child’s sandwich as this provides protein and calcium, which are great for their teeth.
- Switch fruit yoghurt for natural yoghurt as fruity yoghurts can be very high in sugars.
- Include plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are a particularly good choice because they help to reduce plaque build-up on teeth.
- Pack a bottle of plain water rather than sugary fruit juices or soft drinks. Water also helps to wash away acids and loose food particles.
Other good choices include citrus fruits, cherry tomatoes. Leafy vegetables can be hidden in sandwiches.