The Impact of Sugary Drinks of Your Toddler’s Teeth

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Children don’t think of the effects that their drinks have on their teeth.  And while you may think that it’s not all that important to protect the baby teeth, that’s not the case.  Although the baby feet fall out, tooth decay can be problematic at any age.

It’s no surprise that sodas are loaded with sugar.  If you think of juice as a healthy option, though, you might be headed for some disappointment.  It’s nearly as packed with sugar as soda.  So, when your toddler or youngster is sucking down their sweet drink, they’re creating conditions in their mouth that might lead to trips to the dentist, if they don’t keep up with brushing, rinsing, and flossing.

Here’s a breakdown of the effect of sugar on your teeth, courtesy of The Bondi Dentists:

First of all, it’s not the sugar that’s actually harming your teeth.  It’s an acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth.  The problem is that these bacteria feed on sugar.  So, anytime you consume sugar, you promote their growth.  More bacteria means more acid, which means your teeth take more of a hit.

Now think about your toddler or young child.  When they drink sugary drinks throughout the day, the bacteria that grow in their mouths between brushings have a chance to multiply.  These bacteria can create conditions acidic enough to remove important minerals from your child’s teeth.  If this happens regularly, they are at a risk for toothaches and tooth sensitivity, at best.  At worst, they may wind up with cavities, tooth decay, or rot.

Preventing tooth decay in your toddler, Courtesy of The Bondi Dentists:

Since we know that sugar is the culprit, the solution is pretty simple, right?  Just cut sugar out of your child’s diet…

Right.  Sugar is everywhere.  And kids go absolutely bonkers for it.  So instead of initiating a house wide sugar ban, think moderation.  Try to keep it to the occasional sugary treat.  Even more important, make sure that water is your child’s #1 drink.  Not only will it not damage the teeth, water will actually rinse them, washing away bacteria on the teeth and in the mouth.  Water also moistens the tongue and aids with saliva production, which further cleans the mouth and helps it to return to balance.

If you’re dealing with a picky youngster, you might try adding fruit to their water.  This adds a bit of flavour and fun, while still keeping it as healthy as possible.  Another great choice is milk.  Milk is loaded with Vitamin D and Calcium, both of which are involved in the formation of healthy bones and teeth.  Make sure to choose milk without added flavours or sugars.

ProTip from The Bondi Dentists: Should the teeth be brushed immediately after drinking soda?

Ok.  Here’s how it works.  Right after drinking something sugary or acidic, your teeth are vulnerable to abrasion from your toothbrush.  So, make sure to wait from half an hour to an hour before brushing.

However, there’s hope!  Rinsing the mouth well with water will reduce the levels of bacteria and sugar residue.  The best thing is that you can do it immediately after you finish your drink without harming your teeth.

Here are some other things you can do to help avoid tooth decay in yourself and your youngster:

  • Have your child use a straw: Straws pull the liquid past the teeth, protecting them from the harmful effects of sugar and acids.
  • Swish with Water: Have your toddler swish water through their mouth after snacks and drinks and their mouths will remain (more) clean throughout the day.
  • Fruit Flavoured water or Dilute Juices: You may not always be able to get your toddler to drink water.  So, go for something that’s as close to water as you can get, while still getting some of the beneficial effects.  When you dilute the juice, it reduces the sugar levels, which is better than nothing.
  • Stay Away From Soft Drinks before Bed: If your toddler has soda right before brushing, the combination will do damage to their teeth over time.  It’s better to rinse the teeth and give them at least thirty minutes before brushing.
  • Make Sure to get Regular Checkups: When you come in for regular checkups, your dentist will be able to spot problems before they become too serious and maybe even before you notice them.  The best way to get your teeth healthy is to keep them healthy from the start.

If you’d like to know more about how to keep your children’s teeth healthy, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us.  Your teeth matter.