Your kids are old enough to know how to brush their teeth. That means you have done your job as a parent. After all, kids really only do what their parents communicate as important.

But that requires you to know what’s good or bad for their dental health. Sugary soda is obviously not good, but do you know all the drinks that could be damaging your kids’ smiles? Or yours?

Call our Birmingham, MI dental office today at 248-972-8720 and make an appointment for dental cleanings and dental exams for your family. Then read more to see how you can better help your kids keep their smiles healthy and strong.

How You Can Protect Your Kids’ Teeth

Family dentistry is all about helping your family (kids and adults) keep their teeth and gums healthy. To do that, here are a few tips:

  • Drink water: Your body uses saliva to wash away tiny particles of food stuck in your mouth. This helps control the bacteria behind cavities and gum disease. When you’re dehydrated, you don’t have as much saliva and those bacteria can start to multiply.
  • Mouthguards: Kids need to stay active to avoid childhood obesity, but they still need to wear protective gear. An athletic mouthguard is like a helmet for your kids’ teeth. It can mean the difference between healthy teeth and ones that are chipped or cracked.
  • Limit sugar: You probably already know this, but be careful about hidden sources of sugar. Even tomato sauce and bread can have a lot of sugar in it.
  • Keep teeth clean: Encourage your kids to brush twice and floss once each day. But don’t forget about coming to our Birmingham, MI dental office twice each year for a dental cleaning and dental exam.

How What’s In A Drink Can Damage Teeth

When it comes to what your kids drink (or eat for that matter), there are three things you need to look out for: acids, sugars, and carbs.

  • Acid: Acidic foods and drinks can damage your kids’ teeth. That’s because the acid will coat their teeth and erode the enamel. It’s not a sudden thing, but it will eventually weaken their teeth.
  • Sugar: Why is sugar so bad? Because the harmful bacteria behind cavities and gum disease can really thrive on that. It’s packed with energy, so it helps the bacteria multiply.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbs are also packed with energy, so those bacteria can thrive on carbohydrates just as well as sugar.

Drinks That Can Hurt Your Teeth

With all that in mind, here are several common drinks that you need to keep your eye on. Banning them outright might not work, but you can at least limit how often your children enjoy them.

Many kids drink plenty of these, especially in the hot summer months or during team sports. However, remember that sports drinks are designed for professional athletes. They’re full of sodium that you sweat out, but they’re also full of carbs to give you energy. That means you’re coating your teeth in the food bacteria love when you enjoy these drinks.

While it’s certainly true that fruit juice (orange, apple, what have you) have a lot of vitamins, they’re also full of sugar. After all, fruit is very sweet! Even if you get the unsweetened kind, you’re still giving your kids a mouthful of sugar. Plus, juices are highly acidic. That means they can hurt your kids’ smiles in two ways.

Since these drinks are sugar-free, they won’t hurt your kids’ teeth, right? That’s not exactly correct. All soda is highly acidic. It’s added to soda to balance the sweetness (even the artificial sweetness). A tooth that’s submerged in diet soda for too long will actually start to dissolve thanks to that high acidity.

Different energy drinks have different ingredients, so you’ll really need to read the ingredient list. Be aware that many energy drinks are full of sugar or carbs, and many are tangy and acidic. While your young kids are probably not drinking any of these, many teens have started taking energy drinks to school.
Call us TODAY at 248-972-8720 or use our convenient online form to schedule a dental cleaning and dental exam for your family. Dental cleanings can get rid of plaque and tartar, while dental exams from Dr. Newingham can spot any problems while they are easier (and usually cheaper) to fix.