What Is Safe For My Child to Drink?!
As many of you have heard from us or other dentists, added sugar is bad for your teeth. Added sugars in drinks and foods are particularly troublesome because they have been linked not only with cavities, but with weight gain and even childhood obesity. We at Dentistry for Children are here to help understand when and what is appropriate for your children, so let’s dive in!
There have been a few interesting studies this year looking at children and sugar intake. One study showed that while sugary drink intake has gone down for children across the country since 2003, there are still over 68% of children that receive at least one sugar added beverage a day! This is important because the both pediatricians and pediatric dentists do not recommend any juice for children under one and to limit juice to 4 oz. or less per day of 100% fruit juice only for children 2-5 years old. We at Dentistry for Children are in full agreement and encourage you to follow these guidelines at home. Decreased sugar intake can drastically reduce the risk your child has for getting cavities, and drinks like fruit punches, sodas, sweet teas, sports drinks, and energy drinks all have a large amount of added sugar. This increases your child’s risk of cavities as well as weight gain and even developing type II diabetes as we mentioned above. Parents often then ask, “What about sugar-free flavored drinks?” Even if you can find a sugar free option, these are almost always flavored with acids, these acids promote unhealthy bacteria in our mouths and can lead to more cavities.
So what can we drink?! Plain milk and water are the best for toddlers and up. The good news is that kids generally enjoy these drinks, especially if not exposed to juices and other sweetened beverages at a young age. Instead of juice try to offer whole fruit as a treat. Parents tell me all the time they struggle getting their kids to drink milk and water, while that struggle is real if your children are already drinking sweetened beverages, the best way to get them to drink water and milk is to not offer anything else. Children’s acceptance of water, milk, even vegetables improves when they have limited exposure to sweet foods and drinks, so there are many health benefits. This can lead us as parents and adults to make better choices as well in order to model good behavior for our kids and avoid dinnertime meltdowns. Better health for the whole family is always our goal and it is our pleasure to help you and your family get there!
For those of you nerds like Dr. Bumann, here are the articles and papers for your deep dive reading enjoyment!
For more information and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aaron Bumann, Please call (816) 548-3400.