Little child lying in fruit jelly showing out tongue and looking at camera.

How Much Sugar is in Your Kid’s Snacks?

Every parent wants their kids to be happy and healthy. For most of us, this means balancing what they want with what we know is best for them. But that’s easier said than done, especially when it comes to their diets. Because not only are a lot of kids picky eaters – sometimes saying “no” to a candy bar means a tantrum or argument.

Unfortunately new research suggests that the health risks of sugar might be worse than we thought. Sugar-rich diets increase the risk of childhood obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. That’s why the American Heart Association now recommends that children consume less than 25 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day.

Anyone who’s recently read the label on a can of soda knows that even drinking one 12-ounce can would exceed 25 grams. So what’s a parent to do? Of course we encourage replacing sugary snacks with healthy alternatives, but it’s important to know how much sugar is in the snacks kids love to eat. Even gummy vitamins contain 1-2 grams of sugar, so it’ll add up quickly!

 

How much sugar is in kid’s drinks?

Kool-Aid (8 ounces) = 4 grams

Capri Sun (1 pouch) = 18 grams

Orange Juice (8 ounces) = 21 grams

Apple Juice (8 ounces) = 26 grams

Sprite (12 ounces) = 31 grams

Chocolate Milk (12 ounces) = 33 grams

Coca-Cola (12 ounces) = 39 grams

Mountain Dew (12 ounces) = 46 grams

 

How much sugar is in kid’s snacks?

Cheerios (1 cup) = 1 gram

Ketchup (1 tablespoon) = 3.7 grams

Graham Cracker (1 rectangular piece) = 4.4 grams

Cheetos (small bag) = 5 grams

Chocolate Chip Cookies (4 cookies) = 9 grams

Nutri-Grain (1 bar) = 13 grams

Pop-Tarts (1 pastry) = 17 grams

 

Health Alternatives to Sugary Snacks

If you’re looking to cut down on your child’s sugar intake, we’ve heard a lot of parents secretly dilute the sodas they give their kids! But if you’ve got yourself a kid with a serious sweet tooth, try some of these alternatives and see what they think!

Cheese: Every 100 grams of cheese contains only about 2.3 grams of sugar. Not only that, but cheese is packed with protein and healthy fats that, when eaten in small amounts, are perfectly healthy to eat!

White Milk: 8 ounces of white milk does contain about 12 grams of sugar. If your child is obsessed with chocolate milk, try using less chocolate powder or syrup over time and getting them used to drinking whole milk. Like cheese, it contains healthy proteins and fats that an active person needs.

Peanut Butter: We’re not going to lie and say that peanut butter is the healthiest food out there. But it is sweet and it’s only got about 3 grams of sugar in a typical serving of 2 tablespoons. Try spreading some peanut butter on a celery stick, adding 2-3 raisins on top and telling your child it’s called ants on a log!

Fruit: There has been a lot of talk recently about sugar in fruit. And though it’s true that unhealthy sugars exist in dried fruit or fruit juice, whole fruit such as apples and bananas still contain a great amount of fiber and water – which means more hydrated kids with healthier digestive systems.

Goldfish: Apparently the song is true. Goldfish have an impressively low amount of sugar per serving – 0 grams for every 55 pieces! So if your kid loves to gobble up these cheesy fish-shaped crackers, it’s probably the most okay snack they can have every day.

 

Raising a child is hard work! And sometimes we’re just happy that they’re eating anything at all. But if you want your kid to grow up strong and healthy, limiting their sugar intake will increase their quality of life and even help them focus better in school.

So encourage healthy eating! And try to talk to them about the negative health effects of sugar, like gaining weight, losing their permanent teeth and feeling bad or sick when they are older.

Do you have any healthy or sugar-free snacks that your kids love? Share them with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Halloween celebration concept with candy corn and jack o lantern cup on wooden table.

The Worst Halloween Candy For Your Teeth

Binge-eating a pillowcase full of peanut butter cups and candy corn while you’re dressed as Wonder Woman is kind of the point of Halloween, isn’t it? But we all know that candy isn’t the healthiest snack on the block – even if you promise to brush and floss when you finally finish stuffing your face.

Sadly, the only candy out there that doesn’t contribute to tooth decay and cavities is probably sugar-free gum. But you’re not knocking on your neighbors’ doors in search of chewing gum, are you? Learn more about the negative effects your favorite candy can have on your teeth or—if you’re impatient—scroll to the bottom of the page to find out the worst!

Closeup of chocolate,peanut and caramel bar isolated on white with clipping path

Chocolate

Examples: Hershey Bar, 3 Musketeers, M&Ms & Peanut Butter Cups

If you’re a chocoholic, you’re in luck. As long as you’re eating a simple bar of chocolate without caramel or many other ingredients, you’re getting a snack that will wash off your teeth fairly easily. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, even has some health benefits! It’s an iron-packed source of antioxidants that may improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve brain function.

Chocolate is probably the best candy for your teeth. But remember, moderation is the goal here. Too much of anything is bad for you.

Sour candy isolated on a white background

Sour Candy

Examples: Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, SweeTarts & Pixie Stix

Sour candy has a higher acidic content than other types of candy. It’s probably no surprise to you, but eating something like Pixie Stix–which are nothing more than flavored sugar you don’t even have to chew–doesn’t provide any nutritional value and can lead to cavities in addition to blood sugar issues.

If you’re going to indulge with sour candies, try rinsing with a glass of water afterward to wash away the cavity-causing acidity contained in these mouth-puckering bites.

Lollipops in a variety of colors isolated on a white background

Hard Candy

Examples: Jolly Ranchers, Runts, Lemon Heads & Lifesavers

Hard candy like lollipops and jawbreakers is just as bad for you as sour candy, and for many of the same reasons. Because we often suck on hard candy to get it to dissolve, it is in our mouths much longer than other Halloween candy. This just leaves more time for sugars to attack and break down tooth enamel.

If hard candy is a habit for you, we don’t have a lot of good news to share. Try switching to sugar-free gum when you get that urge. And of course remember to rinse after you’re finished with hard candy, even if it’s just tap water.

Gummy bears

Gummy and Chewy Candies

Examples: Gummy Bears, Swedish Fish, Bit-O-Honey & Mary Janes

Like we mentioned above, about the only candy you really want to be chewing on is sugar-free gum. The mixture of sugar and gelatin in gummy bears and worms is very acidic and will wear down tooth enamel, which can lead to exposed nerves and sensitive teeth.

Hey. We love Haribo Gold Bears just as much as the next person, but let’s try and limit ourselves to one bag a week. We can live with that, right? Hopefully. Maybe. Let’s just say we’ll give it a shot.

Saltwater taffy on a white backgroundTaffy or Caramel

Examples: Caramel Chews, Saltwater Taffy & Riesen

The worst halloween candy for your teeth is a tie between taffy and caramel. These bite-sized, sticky morsels of pure sugar get trapped in the grooves of your teeth and are more difficult to rinse away with salvia or water than the average candy. When sugar like what’s inside taffy or caramel gets stuck to teeth, it creates excess bacteria in your mouth which allows acids to thrive and develop into tooth decay. Caramel also contains small amounts of saturated fat, which increases your risk of heart disease.

The worst part of very sticky Halloween candies is that they can pull out fillings, bridges or braces! If you’ve got an orthodontic appliance or fillings, it is best to just stay away entirely.

 

Decorative pumpkins filled with Halloween candy

Swap Your Sweets 2017

Support the troops and earn $5 for yourself!

Bring your leftover Halloween candy to any Mortenson Family Dental, BracesBracesBraces or Kid’s Dentistree location (in Kentucky, Indiana or Ohio) during regular office hours to get a $5 gift card!

The candy will be donated to Operation Gratitude –  a wonderful organization that annually sends 200,000+ care packages filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to veterans, first responders, new recruits, wounded heroes, their caregivers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home.

Swap Your Sweets 2017

 

Accepting candy from November 1st–3rd

Each person may swap one bag of candy.

You must have at least one full, sandwich-size bag of candy.

No chocolate! (It melts in the mail when shipped overseas.)

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JDRF One Walk - October 21, 2017

JDRF One Walk – October 21, 2017

You’re invited to join us for the JDRF One Walk on Saturday, October 21, 2017. JDRF One Walk has one goal: to create a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle—and it’s serious and stressful to manage. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D and there is currently no cure.

But there is something you can do to help. When you participate in your local JDRF One Walk, the money you raise supports life–changing breakthroughs that give hope to everyone impacted by this disease. And, you’ll have a great time doing it! That’s because you’ll walk with a committed community that is passionate about doing whatever it takes to help turn Type One into Type None.

Please register to walk with us or donate to one of our teams today.

Donate to your favorite team

 
Click on one of the links below to donate to your favorite Kid’s Dentistree team as they fight to create a world without Type 1 Diabetes!

About Kid’s Dentistree

 
Kid’s Dentistree in Coastal Georgia, Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Texas is a fun, family-friendly dental practice, just for kids! All of our patients, from toddlers to teens, love how we take the anxiety out of going to the dentist. In fact, we make it fun!

Help your child start a lifetime of healthy smiles. Come visit us! Kid’s Dentistree is currently accepting new patients and most insurance is accepted.

Why Kids Dental Checkups are Important

Why Kids Dental Checkups Are Important

Why are dental checkups for kids important? Because as soon as your kid has teeth, they can get cavities. That’s why regular checkups in early childhood—in addition to good dental hygiene habits taught at home—help ensure that your kids will stay healthy throughout their lives.

Early checkups prevent tooth decay and dental pain, which can lead to trouble concentrating and medical issues later in life. Research suggests that kids with healthy teeth are happier overall, perform better in school and have higher self-esteem.

 

When should your child first visit the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that parents bring their child to the dentist by their first birthday, or as soon as the first tooth appears. This visit will reinforce the dental habits you’re teaching them at home and help your kid be more confident for future dental visits. At your child’s first visit, the dentist will make sure their teeth and jaw are developing the way they should, as well as look for cavities, mouth injuries or other issues.

Parents can help kids prepare for their first visit by explaining what will happen and staying positive. Have your child practice opening their mouth for when the dentist checks their teeth. If you’re a first-time patient, you can print out new patient forms to fill out before your visit.

 

What are the benefits of early dental visits?

Lots of parents wait too long to schedule a dental visit for young children, which can have negative consequences on a child’s dental and overall health. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States despite being mostly preventable with good habits and regular checkups. The CDC reports that 19.5% of children ages 2-5 have untreated cavities.

It’s also very important to keep “baby teeth,” or primary teeth, in place until they are lost naturally. Children with healthy primary teeth generally have an easier time with speech development, chewing food and retaining nutrients. If the pediatric dentist finds that your child has a cavity, sealants and fluoride applications can protect teeth from additional decay.

 

About Kid’s Dentistree

Kid’s Dentistree is a kid-focused dental practice rooted in establishing healthy dental habits and trusting patient-dentist relationships for children at a young age. Our practices feature games, toys, movies and dental equipment all made especially for kids. And in most cases—as long as it is in the best interest of the patient—we encourage parents to come back to the treatment room with their children.

Visit one of our locations in Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia or Texas today!

Group of children having packed lunches

Teeth-Friendly School Lunchbox Ideas

With so much to do before kids head back to school, one of the most common details parents forget is packing a healthy lunch. A nutritious meal at lunchtime plays an important role in your child’s energy and focus at school, and could make a big difference on their report card.

Packing a teeth-friendly school lunchbox doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming as long as you plan ahead, get used to a little nightly chopping action, and try to make it fun. We’ve assembled the 5 friendliest food groups for your kids’ teeth and lots of tips for packing fun and teeth-friendly ideas into their school lunchbox.
 

Veggies

Fresh vegetables in colorful bowls isolated on white. Healthy party snacks. Asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Crunchy vegetables—like carrots, cucumbers, celery, green peppers, lettuce and broccoli—are probably the best snack for your teeth, period. The high water content of vegetables not only rehydrates our bodies, but also dilutes natural sugars and washes away food particles while we eat.

The easiest way to liven up raw veggies is to include a dip like hummus, cream cheese or fresh salsa. But if you want to get a little fancier, try a dill cucumber dip or one of these delicious summer slaw salad recipes.

If your children aren’t very fond of vegetables in the first place, getting them to eat healthier can be a challenge. Just remember to set a good example for them with your own eating habits, introduce new foods slowly, invite your kids to cook with you, and allow them to have “sometimes” foods like sugary cereals or the occasional Happy Meal as a reward.
 

Cheese

Cheeses, White Background, Clipping path

Cheese is high in calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that help keep tooth enamel strong. Cheese increases saliva in your mouth, which acts as a natural defense against cavities and gum disease.

Cutting cheese into bite-sized cubes or squares is recommended to help your kids digest better. If you’d like to make a tasty cheese sandwich for your kids, try this cucumber, tomato and cheddar sandwich recipe we found.

Just remember if you’re packing a sandwich to use “whole grain” or “whole wheat” bread instead of white, because these contain more natural vitamins, minerals and fiber.
 

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts in the glass jar , collection, clipping path

Nuts and seeds are arguably the healthiest protein source. They’re an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamin D, calcium, fiber and folic acid. Folic acid plays a major role in preserving gum tissues and preventing periodontal disease.

Despite being rich in Vitamin E, the shape and texture of almonds put damaging stress on teeth when kids bite down. So if your kids love almonds, try to find almond slivers next time you’re at the grocery.
 

Fruits

5 varieties of apples: Granny smith, Golden delicious, Gala, Macintosh and Red delicious. Larger files include clipping path.

Fibrous fruits—or fruits high in fiber—act almost like a natural toothbrush while you bite and chew. Apples, bananas and strawberries are all a healthy substitution for dessert in addition to being relatively cheap, easy to prepare, and very fulfilling.

If your kids aren’t too keen on fruits yet, make fruits more enjoyable with a healthy yogurt fruit dip or try cutting apples into fun shapes.

However, be careful your children aren’t eating too many fruits – especially dried fruit or fruit juice, which contain lots of artificial sugars. And try to stay away from most “fruit-flavored” beverages and snacks.
 

Water

Bottles of water various sizes 1.5L, 1L, 500ml, 300ml. With clipping paths.

Growing up, we all probably drank way more juice than we should have because our parents thought it was a healthy alternative to soda. But the science is out – fruit juice is just as bad for you as soda.

Encourage your children to drink the recommended amount of water daily. Depending on their age, they should be having 5-10 glasses of water each day.

Water not only energizes rehydrates your organs and muscles, it also helps create more saliva in your mouth. More saliva means less tooth decay and stronger tooth enamel.
 

Putting it all together

We know every parent would love to feed their children healthy foods for every meal, but we also know that budgeting is a very real concern. So even if you can only afford apple slices, cherry tomatoes, a handful of nuts, cheese sandwich and tap water, you’re really helping your kids build a foundation for healthier futures.

A school-provided lunch of mystery meat, instant mashed potatoes, applesauce and chocolate milk is unfortunately just not a healthy alternative to homemade lunch. And though school lunches are often provided at a discount, packing your own is possible for only $2-$3/day.

Good luck! And if you ever have more questions about teeth-healthy foods or lunchbox ideas, let us know when you’re back for your child’s 6-month checkup. Happy eating!

Healthy lunch boxes with sandwich and fresh vegetables, bottle of water, nuts and fruits on rustic wooden background. top view

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