Mouth-Healthy Snacks to Refuel Your Young Athlete
A weekend soccer or trip or daylong volleyball tournament can be a great opportunity to spend time with your family, and support your child as they explore their athletic interests. But, extended time away from home often requires you to pack snacks and meals that your child can enjoy on the sidelines. Sometimes, this leads parents to pack foods that are convenient, but unhealthy for teeth. Pre-packaged sports snacks like granola and energy bars can have high amounts of sugar and stick around after they’re done eating – which can lead to cavities and other oral ailments. To combat this, we’ve listed some of our favorite mouth-healthy foods that are perfect for young athletes that are eating away from home.
Eating apples can help cleanse and clean teeth, and fight bad breath. The fibrous content of apples cleans teeth by acting as a toothbrush and scrubbing away plaque from teeth, and removing other food debris. The acidity in an apple helps kill off bad bacteria that encourage bad breath. The high amount of fiber in apples also helps keep hunger in check, and the healthy sugar content can provide a quick pick-me-up for a tired athlete. Apples are a great snack to eat right before a match begins, and can keep your athlete feeling full until their game ends.
Nuts contain calcium and vitamin D – both of which promote healthy teeth. They also have high amounts of healthy fats and protein that help promote muscle and tissue recovery after workouts have concluded. Nuts are a great salty snack that’s easy to pack and eat on the go. We suggest substituting them in place for starchy, salty snacks like chips and crackers.
Cheese is high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth and bones. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps keep cavities at bay. Cheese also helps prevent acid from destroying tooth enamel, and it’s a versatile snack that comes in countless varieties. Try finding a cheese that your child enjoys and pack them a few slices for the road. Cheese is easy to transport, and contains a lot of vital vitamins and nutrients that promote a healthy body and mouth.
Yogurt is a great source of protein, which makes it an excellent option as a hearty snack for your child after their game has ended. It’s also high in calcium and casein, and contains a high amount of healthy bacteria. The healthy bacteria in yogurt help eliminate bad bacteria that can stick to teeth and lead to cavities. We suggest adding some granola or nuts to a cup of non-fat Greek yogurt for a well-rounded meal that helps your child recover after a long workout.
Yogurt is a dental super-food that is mouth-healthy and very mobile – making it perfect for eating away from home. Just make sure to keep any yogurt you pack refrigerated in a lunchbox or mini cooler.
Visit our Office
If you’re concerned about your child’s diet affecting their oral health, or worried that they may have cavities, then visit our office. We will perform a comprehensive oral exam, and determine the best treatment plan for their specific case. We can also offer advice on dietary choices that improve oral health, and how you can help keep your kids away from cavities.