PARENTS

Kids Should Eat 'Crisps Over Raisins' Advises Dentist, But Neither Are A Healthy Snack

'Dried fruit is a terrible idea.'

19/06/2017 12:22 BST

A dentist’s advice that children should have crisps rather than raisins in their packed lunch, has been called into question.

Ben Atkins from the British Dental Association said dried fruit is more damaging to kids’ teeth than crisps, as the “stickiness” of raisins has the effect of “gluing sugar to kids’ teeth”.

He told The Times that although children’s crisps often contain added sugar, normal crisps are “totally fine”. 

Maartje van Caspel via Getty Images

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Professor Damien Walmsley, Scientific Advisor to the British Dental Association (BDA) said: “Snacking should be limited as far as possible. When we eat, the bacteria in the mouth start producing the acids that cause decay, and sugar will send them into overdrive.

“Whether you prefer sweet or savoury, reaching for snacks between meals can take its toll on teeth.

“Dentists would encourage parents to focus on sensible eating. They should remember that ‘treats’ can carry hidden dangers, both to their children’s teeth and their waistlines.”

But despite crisps not being as bad for children’s teeth, what effect do they have on a child’s health?

Tam Fry, a spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum and expert advisory team member for Action on Sugar told HuffPost UK dried fruit and raisins were a “terrible idea” for kids’ snacks, but added: “so are crisps.”

“Dried fruit is full of sugar that clings to the teeth,” he said. “If the teeth are not brushed after the meal, which is hard to do at school, it starts to rot the enamel.

“It’s as simple as that.

“If you’re going to put any fruit into a child’s lunch bag, it should be fresh fruit - the fibre is hugely helpful.

“Eating crisps instead - I don’t think that’s god advice at all. Crisps have a lot of salt, particularly for young children. They should have as little salt as possible, so that’s not a good idea either.

“There are many other things you could put in a lunch box, and fresh fruit is one of the best.”

The NHS states dried fruit is “high in sugar and can be bad for teeth, so only ever give it to children with meals - for instance, as a dessert - and never as a snack between meals.”

Instead, the NHS advises kids to snack on fresh fruit and raw vegetables, such as tangerines, bananas, pieces of cucumber, carrot sticks, rice cakes and plain popcorn.

Earlier in June 2017, new figures showed that toddlers are increasingly having their teeth extracted because parents think they are too young for the dentist.

Dentists said there were “widespread misunderstandings” about when infants should first visit the dentist.

Also on HuffPost
Do You Know How Much Sugar Is In These Popular Kid's Snacks?