Diet and Nutrition
Our Snack and Diet Philosophy
“Diet” refers to the foods we eat. But “nutrition” refers to the relative value that food brings to the body. In other words, you may have breakfast cereal as part of your diet, but the ingredients list on the box will describe the nutritive value (good or bad) of the cereal. Ideally, children should eat healthy meals containing a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and, fat, along with vitamins and minerals. But snacking is a way of life for kids, and adults too, so there should be a rational approach to snacking as it relates to overall health and particularly tooth decay.
There is a common misconception that eating candy and other sweets are the chief culprits when it comes to causing cavities. The truth is there are 4 factors that determine whether your children will get cavities in their teeth; heredity, what you eat, the frequency with which you eat it, and when you brush your teeth. There is no question that you can inherit the tendency to get cavities. You can’t change your genes, at least not at this moment in time. So what can you do?
Please understand that when you eat any processed or refined carbohydrate foods, whether it be bread, chips, or breakfast cereal, those refined carbohydrates are transformed into the same sugars as those in a candy bar. The bacteria in the mouth use that sugar to produce acid, and over a period of time you get decay (caries) and then cavities. There is a big difference in the dental decay factor between eating corn-on-the-cob and a bag of corn chips, a baked potato and potato chips, peanuts and peanut butter, raisins and grapes.
More importantly, if you eat those processed or fermentable carbohydrates frequently throughout the day, you’ll get more cavities, and they’ll be more link to nutrition severe. For example, there’s a big difference if your child eats 5 cookies all at once or 1 cookie at 5 separate times in the day. Each time your child eats a cookie the acid level in the mouth shoots up and attacks the teeth again.
Putting It Together
Expose your children to as many different tastes as possible so they can vary their diet.
Limit the number of in-between snacks and choose snack foods like fruit, popcorn or nuts.
Do not let toddlers walk around constantly eating and drinking juice from a ‘sippy cup’.
Let your kids enjoy candy and cake and other sweet treats on occasion in moderation.
Try and proportion the time spent on tooth brushing, to the time it took to eat a sugary treat.
Good Food Choices
TREATS: Popcorn, corn chips, pretzels, ice cream (not sherbet or popsicles).
FRUITS: Raw: apple, fresh apricots, melons, (watermelon, cantaloupe), cherries, grapefruit, grapes, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, tangerines.
VEGGIES: Raw: cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and other salad greens, radishes, tomatoes.
CHEESE: All kinds – cheddar, cottage or cream.
NUTS: All kinds.