The main old school lunch option was always a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a bag of chips. But these days, parents are more conscience of their children’s health in general and like to make better choices when they pack that lunch pail in the morning. Did you know there are choices you could be making that could be causing plaque and cavities?

Smile Reef has put together a list of what to put and what not to put in your kids school lunches for healthy teeth and gums.

Carbohydrates Cause Plaque: This means that the old PB & J that is a staple in school lunches should be out. The white bread is full of carbohydrates that when touches the gums can cause plaque to build up. A better option to making a sandwich is to go for a lettuce wrap, or you can take some lunch meat and cheeses and cut them up. Kids love to stack their foods so this makes it healthier for their teeth and it can be a fun substitution to a daily sandwich.

Nothing Sticky: This is hard one to avoid because of the absorbent amount of sticky treats that are made and marketed just for kids. These can range from fruit snacks to caramel, taffy and also hard candy that gets stuck to the teeth. The sticky sugar will get into the cracks and in between the teeth and stay there all day long. Kids don’t go brush after eating lunch so it can be several hours before the sugar is removed. This is plenty of time for the tooth to start to decay. A better option is to go with some fresh fruits. The best fruits are those that have large amounts of water in them such as cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes and apples. Although any fruit is better than eating a sticky candy!

No Sugary Juice: The handy juice pouch can be found in almost all the lunch pails across the United States. They are so handy, convenient and affordable. This works in the same way that the sugary snacks do because the sugars in the drink will stick to the child’s teeth and stay there all day. A better option is to pack water or a small milk in their lunch instead. The milk is all around more healthy for them and great for their teeth.

If you feel like you are still needing more good options for lunches to be sure your child is full, you can also slide in a yogurt which is a great snack choice. You can also do any type of cheese or veggies. If you need to add a small container with some ranch dressing to get them to eat the veggies then go for it!

lettuce wrap