If you are the parent of a young child, you may be looking for additional ways to help protect your children's oral health. Regular dental visits and at-home dental hygiene are important. However, some dietary changes may also be needed to help protect your child's teeth and gums.
Although many parents may limit the amount of candy and pastries that their child consumes, they may pay little attention to the beverages that their child ingests. Here is a bit of information about drinks that children often consume and how they may affect the teeth and gums.
Many kids enjoy the fizzy sweetness of a cold carbonated beverage. However, sodas can be quite damaging to the teeth and gingival tissues.
Dental decay and gum disease are usually caused by the acids that are produced by the bacteria of the mouth. As oral bacteria digest carbohydrates, they release waste products with a low pH. These acids dissolve the minerals that comprise the tooth enamel to cause decay. They also irritate the sensitive gum tissues, inciting gum disease.
Although the acids within sodas are not created by microbes, they are just as damaging to the teeth. The more sodas that your child consumes, the more damage they may incur to their oral health.
Sugary sodas are damaging due to their acidity, but they are also harmful because of their simple carbohydrate content. When your child consumes a regular soda, their teeth are subjected to the bacterial acids that are created as the microbes feed on the sugars.
Still, sugar-free sodas are not considered healthy for your child's mouth either. Although they may not contain sugar, they are quite acidic.
Milk is often consumed by kids as a nutritional drink. The white liquid provides nutrients, such as calcium, which is needed for the proper development of the bones and teeth. However, some parents may be unaware that milk still contains lactose, which is a sugar. As a child drinks, their teeth are still coated in sugar that can serve as food for oral bacteria.
Although milk is considered nutritious, it is best to have your child drink it with their meals or snacks. The milk alone should never be used as a soothing liquid just before bedtime. Any milk that is left in the mouth as your child rests or allowed to pool in the oral cavity can cause a severe form of decay called baby bottle decay.
The best liquid for a child to drink is water. It does not incite tooth decay. Additionally, it helps rinse away plaque and particles of food, while keeping the mouth well hydrated to lessen the chance of dry mouth.
To learn more ways to protect your child's teeth, schedule a consultation with a pediatric dentist like at Wallington Dental in your local area.