Some people know raisins as “nature’s candy,” but dentists say they aren’t that different from actual candy when it comes to kids’ teeth. Are snacks we think of as “junk food,” like chips, actually better for little teeth?
“Chips don’t have natural sugar in them,” says Dr. Larry Levin, president of the Canadian Dental Association, and that’s not all.
Dried fruit, like raisins, are very sticky and can find their way into the spaces between the teeth and gums. Even fresh fruit can be problematic if you eat it all day, because while the sugars in fruit are natural, they still act the same way on teeth as the sugars added to sweets. Those sugars are converted by plaque bacteria into acid which eats away at teeth.
Too much acidic fruit can also pose a problem. If you consume a lot of citrus, your saliva can’t keep up with washing it away.
Because kids generally don’t brush and floss after lunch, Levin said, parents should avoid giving kids anything sticky or sugary to snack on, like dried fruit (including fruit roll-ups,) pressed nut bars that contain chocolate and other sweetened stuff. If you’re at home and making sure that they clean their teeth after they eat, “then none of the foods are a problem,” he added.
How do you help your kids fight tooth decay? Tell us in the comments below.