We all do our best to limit how many sugary snacks our kids eat in order to reduce their risk of developing cavities. However, it’s essential to keep an eye on what your kids drink, too. Certain beverages can be great for oral health, and others can lead to dental problems. Let’s see what your pediatric dentist in Tucson has to say about the best and worst drinks for teeth.
The Best Beverages to Protect Teeth
When you’re searching for drinks to quench your family’s thirst, there are a few choices that clearly outweigh other options.
Water is the best choice for dental health as well as overall body health. It contains no sugar, so you don’t have to worry about teeth bathing in sugar anytime your little one drinks it. Water also helps keep your mouth hydrated and encourages saliva production which can rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids.
Milk has three ingredients that help support strong teeth – calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. This trio not only helps strengthen teeth but can also help replace lost minerals in teeth. Milk also contains caseins, a protein that forms a protective barrier on teeth to keep bacteria and acids away. However, your Tucson pediatric dentist recommends serving milk with meals and having your children enjoy it in one sitting. Since milk does contain sugar, it’s important to not give your child a bottle of milk overnight or over a prolonged period of time.
- Unsweetened Dairy Alternatives
Not everyone can tolerate dairy products like milk. If this is the case for your child, don’t worry. They can still get similar benefits from alternative kinds of milk such as soy, rice, oat, almond, or coconut milk. Choose a brand that has added calcium.
- Unsweetened Fruit Juice
Fruit juices are one of the beverages that toe the line between being good and bad for teeth. However, be careful when looking for fruit juice and keep an eye out for 100% fruit juice with no added sugar. That’s what you should pick. Make sure to only give juice to your kids when they can enjoy it in one sitting and wait 20-30 minutes before brushing their teeth after drinking it.
The Worst Beverages for Teeth
There are some common drinks that aren’t good for teeth. These options are usually packed with sugar or are highly acidic. Some of the worst drink choices include:
- Fruit Juice
Yes, we know we just listed fruit juice as an acceptable drink for teeth, but most commercial fruit juices contain a lot of added sugar. Steer clear of juice that isn’t 100% fruit juice or has added sugar.
Perhaps the worst drink for kids’ teeth is soda. Soda or pop is loaded with sugar and is also acidic. This packs a double punch and can weaken tooth enamel and make cavities more likely. Even brands with artificial sweeteners can be detrimental to dental health. Your pediatric dentist in Tucson recommends enjoying soda only on occasion and drinking it in one sitting. You can also have your child swish and rinse with water after drinking soda to help wash away sugar and acids.
- Sports Drinks
If you have a really active kid, you may think a sports drink is a great choice to help rehydrate them. However, these beverages contain sugar and acid, which we know can cause problems. When in doubt, always choose water.
What your kid eats and drinks can absolutely affect their oral health. Choosing options that are low in sugar and acid can do wonders in keeping little teeth cavity-free.