Packing healthy lunches for a healthy smile, tips from Dental Associates

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) School is right around the corner and that means parents will be hitting the grocery stores to stock up on lunch supplies.

A healthy lunch leads to a healthy smile! Dr. Samuel Schmidt with Dental Associates stopped by Local 5 This Morning with some tips on what to pack, and what not to pack for your kids.

Here’s some of the advice that Dental Associates provided:

Mouth-healthy Lunch

  • Sandwich with Cheese on Whole Grain Bread – Whole grain bread has less complex carbohydrates which give bacteria less digestible food for them to grow. You want to avoid white bread.
  • Cheese (Cheese Sticks) – The chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel. Casein is a type of protein found in Mozzarella cheese that coats the teeth and acts as a buffer that helps prevent cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to the teeth. Cheese sticks are a great lunch option since Mozzarella cheese is high in casein and it’s the cheese for most cheese sticks.
  • Yogurt –Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. Choose a plain variety with no added sugar.
  • Apples – Apples arehigh in fiber and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Pack either a whole apple or apple slices to give the mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.
  • Carrots – Like apples, carrots are crunchy and full of fiber. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in the mouth, which reduces the risk of cavities. Along with being high in fiber, carrots are a great source of vitamin A.
  • Almonds – Almonds are great because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar.
  • Milk – Teeth are made mostly of calcium, and without enough of it, there’s the risk developing tooth decay and other problems. An added benefit is that the calcium in milk mixes with plaque and sticks to teeth, protecting them from acids that cause decay and helping to rebuild tooth enamel on the spot. 

Unhealthy Lunch

  • White Bread – Starches made from white flour are simple carbohydrates and can linger in the mouth and then break down into simple sugars. Bacteria feed on these sugars and produce acid, which causes tooth decay.
  • Pretzels, Chips or Crackers – These are all simple carbohydrates. Sugar is troublesome for children and adult teeth. Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. The bacteria feeds on simple sugars and creates an acid that destroys enamel. When you eat something sweet, it takes the bacteria about 20 seconds to convert it to acid and that acid is active for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Fruit Snacks – Since they’re sticky, sugary pieces stick on and in-between teeth and give bacteria a source of food.
  • Soda, Juice or Gatorade – In addition to being high in sugar, these beverages can contain acid which is another element that can attack the enamel of teeth and weaken it.
  • Sticky, Sour and Lingering Candy – Candy that sticks around — lollipops, caramels, jelly beans, gummies, sour gummies and hard candies — make it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away. 

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