The Doctor Is In: Tooth friendly snacks for kids

cute redhead toddler baby biting tasty green apple

Wausau, Wis., (WSAW) When you reach for a snack, how much thought do you give to your teeth? Parents, especially, should consider their children’s teeth when it comes to planning snack time.

To tell us more, Dr. Joe Jackson, pediatric dentist with First Impressions stopped by the NewsChannel 7 studio.

There are some key guidelines when it comes to snacking. First and foremost, children should sip on water after a meal or snack. This helps to rinse away the sugars from foods so that they aren’t on teeth. Then, you really want to avoid sticky foods, and foods that are high in sugars and/or carbohydrates.

The best foods for kids to snack on are foods are low in carbohydrates and easily rinse off of teeth. Some great snack-time choices are raw, crunchy veggies, such as broccoli and carrots; cheese; and nut butters -- here we have peanut butter on celery sticks.

Snack and meal times should be organized. But if they aren’t, or a child doesn’t have a drink of water after, there is the possibility that these foods could cause cavities. Other snack options are: whole milk, fresh fruit (crunchy is best) yogurt, and dark chocolate. These foods have more sugars in them than the previous category.

Now to the bad stuff. Some of these are expected, like cookies and soda. They’re high in sugar. Some may be surprising, like fruit snacks and pretzels. Fruit snacks are sticky and stick to teeth -- literally keeping sugars on your tooth's surface. Also, anything processed is not good for teeth. This goes for pretzels, which are also unfortunately high in carbs. Not good.

“One thing we don't want to do is guilt parents. We understand that not everyone wants to eat only cheese cubes and celery sticks, right? And parents of older children will frequently snack along with them, so we're not saying no treats -- we're just saying be cognizant of the foods your child is eating from an oral-health standpoint,” explained Dr. Jackson.

Children should brush twice a day, once in the morning as well as before bedtime. Parents should help them brush until they are about 6 years old. And brushing should occur for about two minutes. And as soon as children have teeth that touch, they should floss as well.

First Impressions has created a nice handout outlining tooth-friendly foods for snack time. Parents can visit our website, fidkids.com, for more information.