Types of Lunches:
Many cafeterias and vending machines offer a variety of options, and your child's choice of food can make or break their oral health. Unfortunately, the sugary snacks and sodas found in many school vending machines can lead to cavities, and kids can often purchase desserts in the cafeteria that aren't good for their dental -- or overall -- health. In recent years, there's been an ongoing debate over school vending machines, but you can start your own campaign towards excellent dental care by investigating your school's choices in food supplies.
Ask the school for a list of cafeteria and vending machine items. If your child is part of the National School Lunch Program, ask the school to supply the menu for you to review. If the items being sold or supplied do not meet your needs for a healthy lifestyle, contact your school administrator to discuss your concerns. You may be able to make a difference in your school district's food choices!
It's understandable that children may be temped by the sweet treats offered in their school's cafeteria or vending machines, but you have the power to steer them in the right direction! Discuss the importance of oral health with your child, and talk about appropriate food choices for lunch. When your children come home from school, review what they ate that day. Routinely discussing the importance of a good diet can help your children make correct choices in the future.
- Preparing your child's lunch is a great way to avoid cavity-causing foods. If you do, there are several ways to promote a tooth-healthy meal:
- Pack the right amount of food to meet their nutritional needs. That means including fruit, vegetables, grains and calcium-fortified dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and milk on a daily basis.
- Don't include sticky foods that can't easily be washed away, especially if your children aren't able to brush their teeth after lunch.
- Encourage your children to drink beverages that are low in sugar. Drinking water and other low-sugar liquids can help wash away food particles that might get stuck between teeth.
- You may want to include a travel toothbrush with your child's lunch. Speak with your dentist about how often your children should be brushing their teeth, and whether lunchtime brushing is appropriate for them. Ask the school administrator about children excusing themselves during lunch to complete their oral hygiene regimen and, if needed, arrange a plan for your child to brush his or her teeth at a certain time.
When you review your child's day at school, be sure to include what they ate. Ensuring that your child is making the right choices will not only improve his or her dental health but will also help control another childhood epidemic: obesity.
We know you want the best for your children -- and oral health is no exception! Lunch is an important subject, and you're getting an A+ by taking the time to study up on your children's food choices! If you need more guidance, talk to your child's dentist or pediatric dentist.