The adage “you are what you eat” can be especially true when it comes to tooth health. Your teeth and mouth are the first defense of your body when it comes to eating. And unlike the rest of your body, your teeth don’t bounce back when they’re damaged by a harmful diet. That’s why, in order to keep a healthy mouth for life, it’s important to teach your children about healthy eating early on. A healthy diet won’t guarantee a cavity-free mouth, but it will certainly help!
Here are a few of our favorite kid-friendly treats that also provide great nutrients and benefits for your teeth.
Ants on a Log
This snack is a classic for a reason. Crisp, fresh celery creates the perfect counterpoint to creamy peanut butter, and the raisins add a dash of sweetness. The celery is also great for your child’s teeth because it helps to scrub all the nooks and crannies of the mouth, and the juice revitalizes and freshens.
- Chop celery into sticks, keeping the curve of the celery stalk intact.
- Spread peanut butter onto the half-pipe of the celery stick.
- Dot the peanut butter with raisins, which now resemble a line of ants.
Fruit is always delicious, but sometimes it doesn’t feel very exciting to kids. Counter that by arraying fruit pieces onto exciting and colorful kebabs. You can even top the stick with fruit in the shape of a star in order to make it look like a magic wand. This snack can benefit your child’s oral health because of the antioxidants packed into most fruit, which help prevent gum disease. Opt for little mandarin orange slices, pineapple, and strawberries, which are packed with Vitamin C. Blueberries and grapes are also full of antioxidants, and look great on a wand.
- Get large wooden skewers.
- Chop fruit into bite-sized pieces.
- Have your child join you in arranging the fruit on the stick.
- Eat now or refrigerate for later.
This gourmet classic can also be a lot of fun for kids. Cheese has calcium that helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Expand cheese plate with whole grain crackers, and add fibrous apples for a tooth-scrubbing effect. While many adult plates feature exotic cheese, you don’t need to get fancy. Pepperjack, mozzarella, and maybe even some cream cheese will do the trick.
- Simply divide a few different kinds of cheese into slices and cubes.
- Arrange the plate with some crackers and fruit.
Green Smoothie Popsicle
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are essential for oral health (and overall health). They’re full of folic acid and calcium, both of which support bone development and tooth health. However, getting kids to eat leafy greens is usually a struggle. Unless, that is, you’ve mastered the green smoothie popsicle!
- Blend together a handful of fresh spinach, some frozen banana and mango, and some milk. If your child doesn’t handle dairy well, try out coconut milk or rice milk instead.
- You can try a lot of variations on the recipe and combination. But often, while the greens will color the popsicles, the sweet fruity tastes will dominate the flavor.
- Pour the smoothie into popsicle trays and freeze!