Drink Choice and Your Child's Dental Health

Candies such as chocolate, gummies, and other sweets aren't the only culprits behind dental decay and other oral issues. Along with what your child eats, what they drink can also impact their overall mouth health. Take a look at the beverages that they should consider avoiding and the ones to try.

Drinks to Avoid

From sugar-heavy beverages that lead to cavities to highly acidic drinks that erode dental enamel, remove the risks by banning specific beverages and increase your child's overall oral health. Never give a bottle at nap time or bed time with anything other than water.  The drink will lay on the teeth during sleep and promote decay development.  If you're not sure what your child should or shouldn't drink, these are options to avoid:

  • Fruit juices. Fruit juices impact your child's teeth in two different ways. The high sugar content can lead to cavities (especially if your child drinks the juice from a bottle or a sippy cup). Acidic juices, such as orange or cranberry, can also erode enamel and leave your child with yellow, sensitive teeth.
  • Sodas. Like fruit juices, soda presents two primary challenges to your child's dental health. They also contain cavity-causing sugars and tend to be acidic. This combination can result in serious dental decay and discoloration.
  • Sports drinks. These beverages may seem healthy, but they're packed with sugars that can damage your child's teeth. Even though hydration is necessary (especially during or after an illness or sports play), sports drinks are not the way to go.
  • Iced tea. Ice tea products can be unhealthy on several different levels. The caffeine in these beverages can negatively affect your child's health. From a dental perspective, these dark drinks contain tannins that can stain your child's teeth. Iced tea often comes in the sweetened form. This can add to the cavity-causing potential.

Even though these beverages can cause serious issues for your child's dental health, a sip on special occasions or a one-time treat shouldn't be out of the question. Damage from these types of drinks takes time and consistency.

Drinks to Try

While avoiding sugary, acidic, and staining drinks can help your child's healthy mouth, you should add in other beverages that have proven to be beneficial. What should your child drink? Some of the top choices include:

  • Milk. For most children, milk is the drink of choice. Along with providing bone (and teeth) building calcium, the protein in milk can protect your child's dental enamel. The protective aspect of dairy is helpful in combatting acid-related enamel erosion.
  • Tap water. Even though bottled water isn't inherently bad for your child's teeth, it won't provide the added bonus of fluoride. The fluoride content of tap water makes it a superior drinking choice. Not only is it sugar- and acid-free, but the fluoride can strengthen your child's teeth and combat cavity formation.
  • Drinkable yogurt. Whether it comes pre-packaged or in a smoothie, yogurt provides milk-like dairy benefits. The key to choosing the right yogurt product is selecting one that is completely sugar-free. This means opting for a blend that has no added sugars, no fruit mixed in, and no added juice.
  • Breast milk. Your infant can get the majority of their nutritional needs met with this made-by-mom beverage. It can boost your baby's immune system (making dental infections less likely), help them to develop a better bite, and reduce the risks of bottle tooth decay.

Choose a healthy beverage for your child to maintain their dental health. Along with your drink selection strategy, your child should brush their teeth for two minutes at least two times a day (and after meals and drinks) and visit the dentist regularly.

Does your child need a dental check-up? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for more information.

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