Snack Attack – You are what you eat

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More than 50% of Australian children suffer from dental decay, a disease that is entirely preventable and which will affect them for the rest of their life. The adage you are what you eat very much applies to dental health. Sugar in food and drink is what causes dental decay, and is influenced by how frequently and for how long the teeth are exposed to these foods. Every time we eat our mouths are exposed to the sugars in food. The bacteria in the mouth use these sugars to make acid, and if teeth are exposed to this acid for long enough they develop holes known as tooth decay.

 A common misconception is that it is just high sugar foods like chocolates, lollies and fizzy drinks that are harmful to teeth. In fact foods that are high in natural sugars and starch also cause decay. We are not saying that you should eliminate all sugars from your children’s diet – that would be nearly impossible. Instead it is important to limit the frequency of snacking and choose healthy options.
Tips to stop the Snack Attack!
  • Avoid snack foods that are sticky, gummy, chewy or sweet
  • Avoid grazing! Have set meal times and form a routine. Teeth need two hours to recover from the acid attack of a meal
  • Limit fruit to two servings per day. Fruit is good but too much can be harmful because it contains natural sugar
  • Give kids water with every meal to help wash away any lingering food
  • Always read the label – if sugar is listed in the top three ingredients it usually isn’t a great sign
  • Be selective with snacks. Remember fresh is best and vegies, cheeses and lean meats are great and tasty options
The habits your children form today are the ones they will take with them through life and will have a dramatic effect on both their dental and overall general health.

It can be difficult to find and prepare healthy snacks for your children so we have our Medland Kids Club Healthy Eating Chart available for you to download for some more tips and healthy food ideas. Not a member of Kids Club? Sign up now or invite a friend.