As a parent, you worry quite a bit about your child’s wellbeing. Some parents feel a twinge of nervousness, and some have to consciously control their panic, whenever their child is out of their sight, even during school hours. Being concerned about your child is normal, even healthy, and during the school year, that concern can multiply. One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is what your child is eating at school. Erlanger, Kentucky dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, gives these tips for packing your child a tooth-friendly school lunch.

Your Child’s Teeth

It is a popular belief that sugar is solely and directly responsible for the formation of cavities. This assumption is wrong; it is not sugar that decays teeth, but the bacteria in your mouth that transform sugar into tooth-destroying lactic acid. Some parents do not consider cavities in their young children as a serious problem because the baby teeth will fall out anyway. The truth is, if decay settles into the primary teeth, the infection can cause the tooth to fall out before its time. That means there will be more time between the loss of the baby tooth and the eruption of the permanent tooth. In that time, the remaining baby teeth can crowd together to make up for the loss tooth, causing overcrowding where the adult tooth is supposed to emerge. Baby tooth decay can also seep into the permanent tooth under it, infecting the tooth before it even rises.

What to Pack

If your child is going to eat something sugary, it is best to do so as part of a meal. The additional food can help dilute the sugar and buffer against acid, plus it is better to eat sugar at one time instead of snacking on it throughout the day. Sodas and fruit juices should be consumed with the meal for the same reason. Aside from water, milk is perhaps the best choice for your teeth. It is free of additives and sugars found in popular juices and sodas, and contains high levels of tooth-healthy nutrients. Calcium is important for your child’s oral health and can be found in foods like yogurt, cheese, fortified cereal,  and broccoli. Meats, including chicken and turkey, also contain phosphate, which is another important mineral for tooth enamel formation.

To learn about more healthy choices for your child’s lunch, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Henry , call our Erlanger, Kentucky dentist’s office at (859) 344-8500.