The seasons of sports is upon us, with Little League and soccer well under way. If your child plays sports it can be a really exciting time for him, but his teeth might not think the same way.
If your child’s team has a habit of providing snacks after the game to reward the kids for a job well done, you can do your part by requesting that the snacks be healthy choices, rather than sugar filled drinks and candies that only promote tooth decay.
After your child works hard at playing a sport, the last thing his body needs is sugar – instead, it needs the proper nutrients to refuel after his activities. In addition, how you feed your child before and even after his big game will have an impact not only on his physical health, but his oral health too.
GIVE ADEQUATE VITAMINS AND NUTRIENTS
When your child plays sports he has a greater need for more vitamins and nutrients than normal. Whether it is an all-day event or just a quick game of soccer, he will be using up nutrients in his body that will need to be replenished. Even though your child will likely naturally consume adequate food to get the energy he needs, it does not hurt to know what will help him perform the best.
Calcium – This important nutrient not only helps to keep his bones strong, but his teeth as well. Give him healthy choices, such as string cheese, yogurt, low-fat milk, and green vegetables. Each of these foods will provide the calcium he needs to have strong bones and healthy teeth.
Protein – This nutrient is important in order for your child to have the strength and endurance to play his sport. Feeding low-fat proteins will help to keep him strong, which will protect his teeth in the long run, as the weaker a player is, the more likely he is to have an accident, which could result in tooth damage.
Healthy carbohydrates – Carbs are good for energy, but the wrong choice of carbs can wreak havoc on your child’s dental health. Instead of refined carbs, like crackers and pasta, choose complex carbs, such as fruits and vegetables to help keep your child strong while protecting his oral health.
AFTER GAME SNACKS
One of the hardest things to manage is the team snack after a child’s game. It has become a ritual for many teams to provide “rewards” for a job well done. While we all want to keep our children’s spirits up while they play sports, we do not want to damage their oral health as a result. Rather than opting for the traditional cookies, candy or chips, opt for healthier versions of a reward. Suggest a few of the following snack choices to your team:
|•||Fruit (oranges or apples)|
|•||Sugar free gum (approved by ADA)|
If your team only wants to provide items that are seen as a reward, consider non-food rewards to avoid doing damage to your children’s teeth – we don’t see that as much of a reward!
Summer is a great time for sports, but do not forget about protecting your child’s oral health. You are your child’s largest advocate, so make sure to watch what he eats and drinks on a regular basis in order to keep his oral health in good standing. Of course, continue to see us on a regular basis, and keep up his oral hygiene habits in order to further enhance his oral health.
If your child is in need of an appointment for a checkup, please call us today.