Living a Sweet Life Without Sugary Beverages
You limit desserts and encourage your children to brush and floss daily, but they still get cavities. You wonder how this happened. If your children are fans of sports drinks, fruit juices or soda, you may have found the culprit.
Sugary drinks―even those that contain no added sugar, such as 100% juice―are very acidic. When you drink them, the acid combines with the bacteria in your mouth and attacks the enamel on your teeth. The more often you drink sugary drinks, the longer your teeth are exposed to this harmful acid. As enamel breaks down, your teeth may appear stained or yellow, become more sensitive and, most importantly, be more prone to decay.
If you can’t cut out sodas and juices completely, you can reduce the damage to your children’s dental health by following a few rules:
· Limit juice intake to 6 ounces per day for children younger than 7 years old and to 12 ounces for older children.
· Make sodas an occasional treat. Soft drinks are both highly acidic and void of any nutritional value. Also, the phosphoric content of soda can affect the way your children’s bodies absorb calcium, a necessary mineral for healthy teeth.
· Serve juice with a straw, and tell your children not to swish the juice around in their mouths or sip it continuously for long periods of time. The more contact it has with their teeth, the more damage the acid can do.
· After your children drink sweet beverages, have them swish some water around in their mouths to wash the acid and sugars away or brush their teeth.
· Give your children plenty of water to drink to help quench thirst, which may also help them avoid cravings for other beverages.
While cutting out sugary beverages can be difficult, your children can benefit in so many ways that extend far beyond dental health. Talk to Dr. Jared if you are concerned about the damage done by sugary drinks, and make it your goal to decrease your family’s sugary beverage consumption. It’s a lifestyle change that will lead to a “sweeter” life.
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