Healthy Drinks and Foods:
You would be surprised to know how much sugar is in many drinks. Examples of high sugar content drinks are soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, and even flavored milk. The sugar from these drinks sit on our teeth and combine with germs in the mouth to make an acid. It is this acid that makes teeth weak and makes cavities. Sipping on sugary or acidic beverages results in breakdown of teeth for at least 20 minutes after your last sip. Just remember sip all day, get decay! Always make water your first choice. Water has vitamins and minerals needed for healthy teeth.
Healthy food choices are important for your teeth and whole body. Fruits and vegetables make your gums stronger and teeth happy.
Sweet, sugary food and candy: If you eat sweets, go for those that clear out of your mouth quickly. Avoid those that stick in your teeth - like caramels or jelly beans - or those that stay in your mouth longer - like suckers and hard candies. Snacks like cookies, cakes or other desserts also contain high amounts of sugar, so try to eat these foods with a meal, when your mouth is already producing more saliva. And try to brush after every meal!.
Starchy, refined carbohydrates: Foods such as chips, bread, pasta or crackers can be as harmful to the teeth as candy. When you eat carbohydrates, they break down into simple sugars. Bacteria feed on these sugars and produce acid, which causes cavities. Avoid snacking on carbs throughout the day.
It’s okay to have unhealthy foods sometimes, we call these “sometimes foods”. “Sometimes foods” are good for celebrating a birthday or holiday!
Play a guessing game - I am thinking of a food which begins with the letter...” Give extra clues like color, shape, and texture, until children correctly guess the food.
Challenge - Try to pick a new fruit or vegetable when going to the store. You may find something new you can include when making healthy food choices.
Another way to prevent cavities is by chewing gum that has the ingredient Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute found in many fruits and vegetables.
Xylitol makes teeth stronger and reduces the germs in our mouth.
Rethink Your Drink
Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation offers a great program called Rethink Your Drink. This program will replace an old drinking fountain in schools with a new water fountain/bottle filling station to help make drinking water easier.
Applications for Rethink Your Drink are accepted. Selected schools will receive reusable water bottles and toothbrushes for all students and staff.
5-2-1-0 is a statewide initiative that promotes healthy eating and active living for children and families in Iowa.