Whether you’re preparing to welcome the first addition to your family or your newest family addition, it can be difficult to decide which foods and drinks is best for their health. Many parents don’t put much thought into what their child drinks. This is largely due to the misconception that because drinks are liquid, there are no tooth decay causing plaque that gets stuck on and between teeth. While there are no “solid” pieces of debris in drinks, harmful bacteria and sugars of liquids can coat the teeth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay if not promptly cleaned.
It may be tempting to give your young children and babies milk and fruit juice to drink as they contain important vitamins and minerals your child needs to grow up strong. Babies need the vitamin D, calcium and fat of milk to get a healthy diet as they don’t have the teeth and motor skills to ingest solid foods that can supply the same nutrients. Young children crave the sweetness of fruit juice and may throw a fit if they are given water. While fruit juice and milk don’t necessarily need to be eliminated from your child’s diet, they should be limited and prompt teeth cleaning and mouth rinsing should follow.
Why Water is the Best Alternative
The constantly teeth brushing and mouth rinsing can be an inconvenient, unpleasant experience for you and your child. Your child may not be cooperative or he or she may forget to rinse or brush their teeth. If you’re busy, you too may forget to rinse out your little one’s mouth throughout the day.
Water, though an unpopular beverage for children, is a convenient and easy remedy to this not-so-pleasant oral hygiene routine. Water makes the caring of your child’s teeth easier and it provides other health benefits that help your son or daughter live a longer, healthier, happier life.
The benefits of drinking water include:
- A free and easily accessible mouthwash. With drinking fountains and water bottles, one can fill up, drink, rinse and gargle with water anywhere, any time.
- Helps save money. Tap water is free and can save you from spending money on fruit juice, soda, and milk. If you occasionally give your child these drink alternatives, the incorporation of more water into your family’s diet will make these other beverages last longer.
- Water is what the body craves. The human body is primarily made of water which make sense that water consumption is the best way to quench one’s thirst and keep the body and its parts maintained and functioning properly.
- Water doesn’t contain calories or sugar. The absence of calories, sugars and fats of water is beneficial for your child’s overall and oral health. The fewer “empty” calories a child consumes, the lower his or her risk is of getting diabetes, becoming overweight, experiencing heart problems, and having high cholesterol. The lack of sugar in water means there are no sugars that can accumulate on or between teeth that can form into cavity-causing plaque.
- The early establishment of water drinking can set the stage for long-term healthy habits. When young children are introduced to routinely drinking water throughout the day early on, the more likely they will tolerate the water drinking and come to continue the habit as they grow up.
Besides drinking plenty of water, a proper oral hygiene routine must be done at least twice a day and regular dental exams and check-ups every six months are also needed to ensure the best possible oral health for your little one and help prevent pediatric cavities.