Are Smoothies Okay for Teeth?
In recent years, smoothies as a breakfast replacement have become more popular, particularly amongst those with a busy schedule. If parents don’t fall into this category, then who does?!
Although smoothies can be a lifesaver when you need that quick meal on the go, there are a few things we recommend considering before introducing them to your child’s diet.
-A good way to add fruit (and some sneaky veg) for fussy eaters
-A good way to add additional healthy ingredients that kids won’t usually eat (e.g. ginger, chia seeds, kale etc.)
-Can contain lots of tropical fruits (high in sugar) such as bananas and mangoes
-No chewing involved which is an important part of developing a healthy relationship with food for kids. It also doesn’t activate our digestive system as much – can end up hungry sooner than if you eat it. This then leads to more frequent snacking and more acid attacks in the mouth!
-Fibre is removed leaving no feedback mechanism to the brain to tell us we’re full.
How to take advantage of smoothies
-Enjoy it occasionally rather than routinely (the amount of sugar is often as high as a soft-drink)
-Try to avoid giving it as a meal replacement. Ensure there is something for your child to chew along with the smoothie. E.g give a smaller portion of the smoothie and have them eat a piece of wholegrain toast
-Reduce the use of tropical fruits (as they are high in sugar)
-Use low sugar fruits such as berries
-Avoid pre-made smoothies (some contain added sugars)
-Include vegetables in the smoothie (spinach, kale, carrot, beetroot)
-Make sure your child is receiving other nutrients they require that don’t often end up in a smoothie such as protein
-Be careful of fads and check the sugar content of the ingredients. Dates have become a popular ingredient to sweeten smoothies. 250g contains around 38 teaspoons of sugar! (the daily limit for kids aged 2-12 is 6 teaspoons)
-Blueberries, Strawberries, 1/4 banana, plain greek yoghurt, water/milk
-Spinach, blueberries, 1/2 banana, milk
-1/4 avocado, 1/4 banana, milk
-1/4 avocado, strawberries, plain greek yoghurt, water/milk
-Spinach, 1/4 banana, 1tsp nut butter, milk
Most things aren’t damaging if they are enjoyed in moderation. Paediatric dentist’s goal is to provide information to help you guide your child towards developing healthy habits so that they can learn to make the right choices for themselves. Once healthy habits are formed, it becomes easier to control what we enjoy in moderation. 🙂