The kids are home for the summer, which means you’re seeing everything that everyone’s eating (it also likely means your grocery bill is exponentially higher). Summer is made up of popsicles and choco tacos and smores and every other wonderful sweet treat on the planet, and everyone should have a chance to indulge in this magical season.

However, the key word is “indulge” — if the kiddos (or adults) eat these types of foods every day, their dental health could be compromised. But have no fear — our pediatric dentist in Thornton is here to offer up some excellent snack alternatives. Let the treats be the treats, and let these ideas serve as a more consistent way to snack, all summer long.

Apple Slices

Apples are excellent for your teeth in many ways. As nano-b explains, “chewing produces more saliva, which is the best natural neutralizer of the bacteria that causes cavities. Second, the texture of these foods also makes them naturally abrasive, so they gently scrub and clean teeth surfaces, removing plaque and food particles.”

Ideally, your kids are just snacking on apple slices, but we get that this can get boring after awhile. Try sprinkling some cinnamon on their slices, or occasionally give them a little bit of peanut butter on the side. Either way, this is a sweet and healthy alternative to any kind of candy they’re eyeing up at the pool snack hut.

Celery

Similar to apples, our teeth and gums simply love getting to crunch on some hard, water-filled foods. Celery is almost solely water, and can scrub away some of the plaque that builds up on our teeth enamel.

While dried fruits are not great for teeth, raisins actually have some nutrients that are particularly good for our dental health. Add a little bit of peanut butter, and your kids will be set with some delicious ants on a log! But just like with apples, remember that a little goes a long way.

Fruit Smoothies

Anything with lots of vitamin C is excellent for teeth and gums, because it can strengthen our blood vessels, while also taking care of inflammation. Sneak a little kale or spinach in your smoothie as well, for some extra vitamins and minerals (and to avoid trying to get your kids to eat vegetables later).

Smoothies are very healthy, it’s true, but they also have a ton of sugar, which is important to watch out for. Avoid adding too much juice (instead opting for water, or a mixture of both), and recommend that your kids drink some water afterwards. This will be just as refreshing of a treat as a sugary, syrupy freeze pop, but with even more nutrition.

Yogurt

Yogurt has probiotics, which are suggested to help fight against plaque and improve the health of your gums. Additionally, there’s a good amount of calcium in yogurt, which is also good for teeth (particularly for the enamel). Just like with smoothies, you don’t want to devalue the nutritional content by loading up on sugar. Most yogurts are pretty loaded with added sugar, so just be mindful when you’re shopping around. You can always add things to yogurt, such as some chocolate chips, mixed berries, or anything else that’s healthy and tasty!

String Cheese

Or any kind of cheese, for that matter — but we’re focusing on one type that kids seem to universally love. Hard cheeses produce more saliva, which is great for combatting some of the bad bacteria in your mouth. String cheese isn’t as hard as some other types of cheese, but there’s plenty of protein and calcium, which are excellent for your growing child to fuel up on. As an added bonus, they’re super easy to transport, and just as easy for many kids to open — perfect for that day spent at the zoo!

No matter what your kids are enjoying food-wise this summer, remember that your Thornton pediatric dentists at Treasured Teeth are here to help make sure their teeth and gums are still in excellent condition. Eating healthy doesn’t mean saying “no” to any Bomb Pops that come your way, but it does mean being conscious of what is part of your regular diet. Imparting these healthy eating habits on your children is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, because they’ll carry these habits with them, all throughout their life — and their teeth and gums will thank them for it.

Book your child’s next pediatric dental appointment this summer with Treasured Teeth! With locations in Reunion, Thornton, and Montrose, it’s never been easier to take your kids to the dentist. And with our amazing pirate ship for them to play on, we’re pretty sure you might hear them say “I don’t want to leave the dentist!” for the first time. Schedule their next check-up today!