The type of food and drink we consume on a daily basis has a Huge impact on our dental health. On average we consume double the recommended daily amount of sugar. Another challenge is coffee drinks that taste yummy but are not the best for your kids well being. We have put together a list of good and bad drinks for your teeth.
- Water- no sugar, no carbohydrates. Water is the magical drink because it contains absolutely nothing but water! No sodium, fat, starches… or anything else that can be harmful in large amounts. Additionally water naturally helps to filter out food buildup and prevent bacteria in your kid’s mouth. And most importantly, it is the most effective drink to stay hydrated!
- Milk- an optimal source of calcium and vitamin D. In fact, the teeth are actually composed of calcium along with other minerals and collagen. Therefore drinking plenty of milk will keep your child’s teeth strong. Even beyond that, milk lowers acid levels in teeth plaque, counteracting sugar and starches (which manufacture acids).
- 100% Fruit Juice (with no sugar added)- fruit juices are definitely not the #1 healthy drink for teeth, but they can have a few benefits. Almost all fruits have some percentage of vitamin C, and the ones with higher amounts include orange, lemon, strawberry, kiwi, and guava. Vitamin C is great for gums because it helps synthesize collagen, a component of both gums and teeth. More collagen will develop stronger teeth. However, the natural sugars in fruit juice (especially citrus ones) already generate acidity so it is crucial for your children to drink juice in moderation! Furthermore, it’s recommended that you try to keep them away from commercial juices with added sugar.
- Another drink that we will consider middle-ground is chocolate milk. It of course has the same positive properties of regular milk, but there is a major disadvantage specific to chocolate milk: sugar! Chocolate syrup is one of the main ingredients, so your child will ingest a decent amount of sugar. While sugar is fine on occasion, you must keep in mind it can fuel mouth bacteria.
- Sports drinks… they’re not as great as you think. The electrolytes and sugar do help to replenish nutrients if your children actively participate in a sport. But truthfully, water is also sufficient as long as they are fed a stable diet. Despite the positives, once again the sugar-generated acids will weaken enamel, which is the material covering the crowns in teeth. Note that this includes vitamin water- so much sugar in those as well!
- Soda- soft drinks might be the worst drinks for your kids. So we already know sugar itself does some damage due to producing acid, but what if your child’s beverage had acids already mixed into it? That’s soda. The acid additives are obviously not the same type of acid formed by sugar, but they are still destructive. Soft drink acids such as citric, tartaric, and malic acids weaken and gradually dissolve enamel. But even aside from all that, soda contains plenty of sugar and carbonation.
It’s very unlikely you’ll be prohibiting every single drink with sugar to your kids, which is fine. That being said, you must keep the following in mind:
- Getting your child in a firm habit of constantly drinking water will go a long way in the development (and maintenance) of healthy, strong teeth.
- It’s essential that you stay aware of the acidity/sugar content in whatever your kids are drinking, if you wish to prevent cavities and weak gums.
- Teach your children this routine for whenever they ingest sugary drinks: Immediately after they’ve consumed the beverage, they should briefly but thoroughly rinse their mouth to prevent acids from attaching to their teeth surfaces. And part two, they must continuously hydrate (with water!) for the rest of the day to filter out any bacteria.
Taking preventative action and choosing beneficial drinks for your kids will successfully strengthen their teeth and save you problems down the road. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Lisi at 972-727-0011! Remember to visit your Allen children dentist Dr. Lisi regularly. She can help to prevent oral problems from occurring and treat those that do occur in the early stages.