AS kids return to school this week – the stress of creating a lunchbox as delicious as it is healthy begins once more.
Now one expert has revealed exactly what you should be putting in you child’s pack up – and one item in particular might surprise you.
Dr Khaled Kasem, chief orthodontist at Impress, said that while you are packing their meal you should of course be mindful of sugar – but that they can have a treat.
“Chocolate actually helps to fight tooth decay because its grain contains strong antibacterial agents.
“Don’t go overboard though, a small treat is enough to keep the decay at bay!” he said.
However, he added that too much sugar will increase acidity in the mouth, which if left for too long will slowly dissolve the protective enamel on the teeth, creating holes and cavities.
The NHS’ guide to healthy lunch boxes suggests parents replace all sweet items like cakes, chocolate, cereal bars and biscuits for malt loaf, fruited teacakes, fruit breads or fruit.
But, the orthodontist warned not to banish all sugary treats from the boxes completely.
“Thankfully there are lots of yummy treats to include in your little one’s lunch that are good for their teeth,” he added.
The expert also suggested adding in some sort of cheese item, such as a Babybel or cheese stick.
“Cheese is full of calcium and vitamin D, cheese will help to strengthen teeth and whiten enamel,” he explained.
Dr Khaled also revealed the three best fruits you should be popping in the lunch box.
“Add apples for a crunchy treat,” he said.
“The more you chew the more saliva you produce, which serves as a protector of the teeth while helping to eliminate plaque.”
Blueberries are worth including for their “antioxidant properties” he said.
“These particular berries have very low sugar content and “help to protect our gums,” he explained.
Strawberries are also worth chucking in, the expert added.
“They can help to attack the bacteria that cause dental plaque”.
When it comes to what to give your child to drink, Dr Khaled said you should encourage them to drink water “as much as possible.”
“You can’t completely control what your child is drinking while they’re at school but sending them off with a bottle of water and encouraging them to drink as much as possible is important.
He added: “Drinking water has many more benefits than just keeping us hydrated, but it also helps to remove a build-up of plaque and bacteria, helping to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy!”
You should also try and make sure you child brushes their teeth at the same time each day.
“Before school can be a busy and stressful time, but it’s important that you create a routine for your child,” he said.
He suggests making sure you child brushes their teeth half an hour after breakfast.
“Brushing is always best after breakfast as it helps to remove the remains of food, but it’s best to leave it half an hour or so as this gives the saliva time to neutralise any acids from the food so you’re not brushing damaging acids into the enamel,” he explained.
Previously, a dentist has revealed the five things they can tell as soon as I look in your mouth, including if you bite your nails.
Meanwhile, a retired hospital worker with perfect teeth has finally visited a dentist for the first time in his life — aged 62.