Drinking for Healthier Teeth

While it might be tempting to fill up a cup of juice and let your toddler carry it around all day, resist the urge!  When it comes to maintaining the health of each and every primary tooth, juice is one of the worst things for your children to drink.

Juice (even 100% natural juice) is loaded with sugar and is probably the leading cause of cavities in baby back teeth that we see in our office.  Even if you water it down, juice can still cause cavities.   And the effects of juice are magnified when your child uses a bottle or sippie cup to sip on it throughout the day.  This gives the dangerous combination of too much total sugar consumption as well as a high frequency of sugar consumption.  If you are giving your child juice, be aware that pediatrics dentists recommend that children only have one small 6-ounce cup a day.   You’ll lessen the negative impacts on each and every precious primary tooth if you serve the juice with a meal or with a snack to help buffer the sugar intake.  It is also very important that children are not allowed to drink juice (or any drink besides water) after they have brushed their primary teeth at night and are also not allowed to sleep with a bottle or sippie cup containing juice.

The best plan for what your children should drink is that they should drink milk or water with meals and water between meals.  We understand that most children are not going to only drink milk or water all of the time.   However, be mindful of the harmful effects that many of the other drinks can have.  Stick to milk and water as much as possible and only let your children have other types of drinks for special occasions.  Also, make sure that your children do not drink anything except water at night after their teeth have been brushed.

Sports drinks are not healthy!  They contain a lot of sugars that can cause cavities!  Beware of the “reduced sugar” versions of sports drinks.  They still contain a lot of sugar and are still very cavity promoting.

Sweet tea and Kool Aid (and drinks similar to Kool Aid) contain a lot of sugar and are not good for your children’s teeth.

Children should only receive soft drinks for special occasions, if at all.  They have a lot of sugar and are acidic and cavity promoting.  Even diet drinks are acidic and contain many ingredients that are not ideal for your child to consume.   Soft drinks, including diet soft drinks, should not be included in a child’s diet.

Many children with health issues are small and physicians recommend Pediasure to gain weight.  Pediasure is high in calories, vitamins and sugar.  Parents of a child that consumes Pediasure should be sure to maintain oral hygiene daily and try to not let their child drink Pediasure throughout the day and night.

It’s obvious that your choice of what your child drinks has an impact on his or her dental health.  To learn more about healthy choices for primary teeth, baby molar teeth, baby back teeth and other topics, visit Triangle Pediatric Dentistry – the leading pediatrics dentist in Charlotte and Wake Forest.