Any family dentist worth visiting knows that sugar is an enemy of the teeth. First off, it is important to understand how sugar leads to tooth decay. Shortly after sugar is consumed bacteria stick to the residual sugar on the teeth and begin to metabolize fructose in the process known as glycolysis.Any family dentist worth…
Ask a Family Dentist: Should My Kids Avoid Juice and Soda?
You entrust your family dentist to protect your kids’ teeth. They do not just clean the teeth, but they can also offer suggestions for maintaining oral hygiene. Find out what a family dentist has to say about juice and soda. Should kids avoid these drinks altogether or are they fine in moderation?
Children tend to enjoy soft drinks, but these beverages should be avoided. Regular soft drinks contain high levels of sugar, and both regular and diet sodas are acidic. Acid and sugar are both damaging to the teeth, so soft drinks should be removed from the diet.
What do sugar and acid do?
Sugar and acid eat at the enamel on teeth. This causes the enamel to wear down, making the teeth more susceptible to decay. Enamel erosion also changes the tooth’s appearance, so it is critical to say no to soda.
Unlike soda, fruit juice does have some benefits. The vitamins and minerals in fruit juice can give a child’s body a boost, but the acid and sugar are dangerous to the teeth. Since there are benefits and drawbacks to drinking fruit juice, moderation is the key.
How much fruit juice can children drink?
Children can drink up to six ounces of 100 percent fruit juice each day, but they should not consume any more than that. Measure the amount of fruit juice to ensure the child does not consume too much.
The alternative to fruit juice
While children can drink fruit juice in moderation, whole fruits are a healthier alternative. Fruits contain more vitamins and minerals and are not as acidic.
What to do after consuming soft drinks or juice
Most parents will not completely eliminate soft drinks and fruit juice from their children’s diets, even if the family dentist recommends it. Those who let their children drink soft drinks and fruit juice from time to time need to follow some tips.
Drink at mealtime
Only offer soft drinks or fruit juice with meals. People produce more saliva when eating, and this neutralizes some of the acids. It is not the same as not drinking the acidic beverage at all, but the reduction in acid makes the beverage less harmful.
Rinse after drinking
Water can reduce some of the power of acid and sugar. Children should rinse their mouths with water immediately after consuming soft drinks or juice.
Brush an hour after drinking
Removing excess bacteria is essential for protecting the teeth. Children should brush an hour after drinking soft drinks or juice. Do not allow the children to brush before an hour is up, though. Brushing too early can cause more damage.
Protect children’s teeth
It is important to protect your children’s teeth at all times. That means you need to limit the number of soft drinks and juices your kids drink. If you let your children have these beverages from time to time, offer them at mealtime, have them rinse after drinking and brush an hour later. Also, have your family dentist examine your children’s teeth to make sure they are healthy.
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