Drinks and Kids: Protecting Your Child’s Teeth from Decay

Kid having his teeth checkedWhile baby bottles with milk or juice are great sleeping aids, they can compromise your child’s teeth. Letting them fall asleep with a bottle will not only make them dependent on the habit, but also contribute to cavities. This is because the liquid and sugar will linger in their mouth, causing the start of decay even before the eruption of teeth.

Note that bacteria in the mouth uses the sugars in milk, juice, and other beverages to create acids that can wear away the enamel. If your child is accustomed to sleeping with a bottle, you can break the habit by reducing and ending the nighttime bottle. Redwood Pediatric Dentistry and other pediatric dentists suggest cutting the amount of liquid every night or diluting the beverage with water.

Here are a few other tips on protecting your child from tooth decay:

Be wise about juice

Pure fruit juice can be healthy for children, but be wary of those products with added sugars. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that kids should not have more than four to six ounces of fruit juice daily. You can also dilute the beverage with water to decrease the sugar content.

Clean teeth and juice

If your child’s teeth have not yet erupted, gently wipe their gums using a damp cloth after every feeding. You can begin using a toothpaste at two years old, but be sure to use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a rice grain) and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Avoid access to sweet drinks

Don’t let your child drink flavored beverage throughout the day. Kids who have access to unhealthy sweet drinks like juice and soda will be accustomed to drinking them as they grow old. It is also not advisable to dip their pacifiers in sugar, honey, juice, and other sweets.

Kick the bottle habit

Wean your child from bottles around one year of age. Note that the longer you start the transition, the more difficult it will be to stop the habit. Longer bottle use, furthermore, may contribute to cavities and cause them to drink more fluid than they need. Use these tips to kick the habit.

Take care of your child’s teeth with this guide. Don’t forget to help them establish good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing daily, as well as visiting dentist twice a year.