It’s that time of year again. Time to fill up your child’s lunch box each morning with healthy treats that
they will actually eat. Sounds like a tall order, but a lunch box packed with a tooth-friendly, energizing
meal is as important as making sure they have pencils and paper. Eating a healthy lunch not only gives
kids the energy to stay focused in class, but also helps them fend off plaque, periodontal disease and
The best choices for a healthy mouth are foods that include:
Bacteria Fighters. Foods like carrots, celery and apples cause you to chew more, which generates more
saliva and kills the bad bacteria in your mouth. Add some ranch dressing or peanut butter for dipping to
make this a special treat.
Vitamin C. Foods high in Vitamin C, such as red peppers, strawberries and oranges, keep your gums
healthy by strengthening blood vessels and connective tissue. Slice up these food ahead of time and
preserve in individual zip lock baggies.
Protein. For the main course, try soups or whole-wheat sandwiches made with protein-rich foods such
as, chicken, turkey and ham to help teeth build enamel. These hardy foods will help keep little bellies full
through recess and afternoon class work.
Vitamin D. Pack foods like hard boiled eggs and tuna fish. They’re not only protein-rich, these super
foods help aid in the absorption of calcium and protein, two key ingredients needed to make strong
teeth. Just be sure to use a thermal lunch box to keep these items cold until lunch time.
Calcium. Foods rich in calcium like yogurt and cheese make your teeth and jaw bone strong while
protecting your mouth against tooth decay. These foods are available in easy-to-pack single serving
containers. For a non-dairy alternative, try almonds. They are rich in calcium too.
What should you avoid?
When possible, stay away from sugary foods and foods that can get stuck between your child’s teeth and
lead to the breakdown of enamel. Sugary sodas, candy and cookies are not a good choice for school lunch
for many reasons. When you must include these foods for your child, make sure that they have the option
to brush their teeth afterwards.
Have a question about what to pack your kids for lunch? Ask your pediatric dentist, at your child’s next