Children tend to favor juice drinks and soda for quenching their thirst, but the truth is that these drinks should really be enjoyed on rare occasion if they are going to have strong dental health. Which drinks, then, can you give your child without worrying about damaging their teeth? Here is a look at the three best drink options for your child’s dental health.
Water truly is the best drink for your child’s (and your own) teeth because of the way it can flush bad bacteria and acids from the mouth. Water also has the power to freshen breath and keep your mouth moist, which is essential for consistently fighting bacteria.
Your child will especially benefit from drinking water if it is from the tap, as this water contains fluoride. Major health organizations agree that fluoride levels in the public water supply are such that they promote dental health without posing any other health risks. Keep in mind that if you prefer to filter the drinking water in your household, your filter could be removing this valuable fluoride. Many household water filters, however, remove only trace amounts of fluoride.
As great as it would be to see juice on this list—juice is an easy drink option that many children love, after all—the truth is that juice drinks contain high amounts of sugar, and sugar is, of course, a major cause of tooth decay. If your child doesn’t want to drink water on its own, consider flavoring the water with citrus slices, berries, or with a splash of fruit juice.
A quick note about juice: 100% juice does have some benefits and could offer your child some nutrients that he or she might otherwise miss. So if you do choose to give your child juice, be sure to limit it to 6 ounces or less per day. In addition, it’s better for a child to enjoy a small glass of juice during a meal rather than in between meals, when those sugars would linger in the mouth. You might also consider diluting your child’s juice to help combat the effects of sugar.
Milk is rich in calcium, which as we all know is essential for building strong bones and teeth. Calcium also actually helps to counteract the effects of tooth decay by aiding in the tooth remineralization process. Just remember that milk is best for children who are at least one year old.