I had a discussion recently on Facebook, regarding fruit-flavored cereal. Honestly, I never did understand why everyone liked them so much. We had Froot Loops at home when we were kids, but I only remember my brothers eating it, while I stuck to Coco Pops. I just found the fruity-tasting cereal weird, and kind of like eating candy, but with milk. Eww.
The other week, Vito’s grandparents bought him a huge pack of fruity cereal, and I was like, “How the heck is he going to finish that?!” It was huge, especially for a little kid. Of course, the little guy was thrilled, right. I mean, that’s like candy-flavored cereal, any time, at his request. Well, not if I can help it. He’s limited to just one cup serving a day, when he remembers they’re there!
We have at least one brand or type of breakfast cereal on hand at home, for when Vito has a craving for it. We’ve purposely limited our buys to just one kind, and we make sure that that one kind of cereal is finished before we buy the next kind. I’m strict when it comes to these sugary cereals, mainly because I see them more as a snack or last resort than a real breakfast food. Plus, they’re really just full of sugar more than anything else!
The thing is, it makes Vito happy whenever I give him some…
(Cue: “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia)
Last July, during the Lotte Xylitol “Make it Zero” Launch (of which yours truly is a Brand Believer Mom), we learned more about how sugary foods (such as breakfast cereal) can really wreak havoc on our kids’ teeth. Since sugar forms a sticky residue on our teeth (known as plaque), they are mainly responsible for creating this bacteria-thriving, acidic environment in our mouths, which lead to cavities.
This means that giving kids too many sugary foods such as candies, cookies, sugary cereals, even dried fruits like mango or raisins, means saying “bye-bye” to healthy teeth. In fact, even foods and condiments such as peanut butter, ketchup and mayonnaise also contain alarmingly high levels of sugar — and we likely regularly make these part of our kids’ packed lunches and snacks.
Of course, the best thing to do is to brush your kids’ teeth at least twice daily (mornings and evenings). I brush Vito’s teeth in the morning, before breakfast, because during the night, that filmy, bacteria-laden plaque actually continues to build up in our kids’ mouths (and ours, moms and dads!) while we sleep. This is why it is so important to brush the kids’ teeth in the morning, not just gargle! Imagine: If your child just gargled, then ate his breakfast right away, all that disgusting, over-the-night plaque would become all the more acidic and chip away more at those little teeth. Eeek!
And, of course, give the kid better choices.
I mean, hello: There’s a reason why “Froot” loops aren’t spelled “fruit” loops, right?
It takes work to give our kids better choices, I know. But think of it this way: Wouldn’t you rather spare his precious teeth from decay early on, than have bigger problems (read: cavities) to deal with when he’s even more picky about food? I know that’s how I feel!
For us, this means stocking up the pantry and fridge with alternatives to plain sweets. In Vito’s case, it’s strawberries (when in season), grapes, mangoes and banana, and apples on occasion. (He likes green ones!) To ensure he can access these easily, we keep the fruits visible around the house. Fruits like bananas and mangoes are kept in the fruit bowl at the middle of the dining table:
We also keep washed and prepared fruits (such as berries and grapes) in containers inside the fridge. We keep them on the lower shelf so that Vito can reach for them, since he already knows his way around the fridge!
If you’d like to read more about the effects of sugar — particularly breakfast cereal — on your kids’ teeth, I suggest you visit the following link
for a scare for more information: http://www.examiner.com/article/some-children-s-teeth-decay-by-constant-exposure-to-grains-sugary-cereal
Now, if your kids are old enough to chew gum, you can also give them Lotte Xylitol chewing gum. Chewing Xylitol gum helps maintain healthy pH levels in the mouth, because the chewing produces saliva that keeps our teeth lubricated. Best of all, the Xylitol component acts as a “plaque warrior”: It “attacks” the bacteria that forms on teeth, thus lessening the risk for tooth decay. (Of course, it’s always best to teach your kids to brush their teeth after meal times at school. I suggest packing a blister pack of Xylitol on your kid’s toiletry kit, too, just in case he or she might need it.)
Lotte Xylitol dental health gum is available in bottles and blister packs, and comes in three variants: Blueberry Mint (my favorite!), Fresh Mint, and Lime Mint. You can find it in all leading supermarkets and drugstores across the Philippines. For more information, visit http://www.lottexylitolgum.com/.