The newest snack trend to hit supermarkets and store shelves is the squeeze snack: small pouches filled with anything from organic pureed fruit to baby food. Each pouch can be sipped on through a convenient plastic straw and do not require any utensils, heating, or refrigeration. Although these travel-friendly snacks may seem like a sweet deal, many dentists warn that these pouches can be detrimental to a child’s oral health.
Many parents reach for the pouch snack for their children because they are under the impression that these snacks are organic and therefor healthier than other popular kid-friendly snacks. However, don’t be fooled by the misleading “100% fruit” label plastered on the front of many of these snacks. While “squeezy snacks” may be made of fruit, they are still packed with sugars. For example, Gerber Graduates Grabbers Squeezable Fruit Banana Blueberry has a staggering 20 grams of sugar per serving. This is almost an entire day’s worth of sugar in an adult’s carb-controlled diet. Eating a whole apple is healthy and nutritious because of the fiber the natural fruit provides. However, once the puree juice is packaged, you lose most of the nutritiousness and what remains is cavity-causing sugar. Furthermore, the feeding straws promote lingering exposure in the same way sippy cups do for infants. The biggest cause for concern is the amount of time the sticky sweet purees remain on teeth. “The constant exposure of sugar on their teeth is detrimental,” says Paul Casamassimo, the oral health research and policy center director at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. “My concern would be if the child walks around with this little pouch, then they might be doing the same thing,” he says. Some dentists suggest that rinsing your children’s mouth with water or brushing teeth after consuming the pouch snacks can alleviate some of their cavity-causing effects. However, in the long run, it would be best to only have these sugary snacks sparingly as a treat. Another alternative would be to manually mash up different fruits and spoon-feed it to children to avoid the prolonged exposure that squeezy pouches allow.
Sources: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/01/30/170667837/oh-baby-squeezable-snacks-might-be-tough-on-the-teeth http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fruit-puree-pouches-rot-kids-teeth-experts-article-1.1253236 http://www.ksl.com/?sid=24297018 Image credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-k6Fpgcn0PI8/ULRvPG9Fo4I/AAAAAAAAHTg/U0odIcD08Jw/s1600/Kid+eating+a+target+food+pouch.jpg