It’s fun to have more time with the kids when they’re out of school for the summer. But it can be tough for them to avoid certain sugary drinks and snacks when they’re home all day.

Even though the labels on their favorite sports drinks and fruit juices indicate all-natural ingredients, the truth is that the acids, sweeteners, and high sugar content in most of them don’t make them a very healthy beverage of choice.

That’s especially true when it comes to your child’s teeth! With every gulp, fruit juice, soda, and other sugary drinks leave behind a sticky residue in the mouth that harmful oral bacteria feed on. This process generates plaque acids that eat through tooth enamel, leaving it weak and vulnerable to damage and infection.

So letting your child overindulge in those popular energy and sports drinks, chocolate milk, and other sweetened beverages they love so much will put them at an increased risk for tooth decay and cavities. Our Hawthorne, CA pediatric dentists are here to help you prevent that! Here are 5 tips for protecting your child’s teeth without making them give up sugary drinks entirely:

  1. Practice Moderation – Like any unhealthy snack or drink, practicing moderation is always a good rule of thumb. Try to limit your child’s consumption of soda, juice, and other similar acidic and sugary beverages to just one per day.
  2. Use A Straw – To minimize the amount of residue left behind each time they take a sip, let them use a straw so most of the liquid passes through their mouth without washing over their teeth, gums, and tongue.
  3. Don’t Drag It Out – Sugar is bad for your teeth, but it’s not necessarily the amount you consume that’s the problem. It’s the amount of time your teeth are exposed to it. So instead of letting your child sip on one cup of fruit juice all afternoon, make sure they drink it in one sitting.
  4. No Sugary Drinks Before Bed – If your child is young enough, you’re probably used to the common tricks kids use to avoid bedtime, often by asking for something to drink. That’s fine as long as you give them water. A sip of juice or chocolate milk before they go to sleep will give harmful bacteria plenty of time to do their worst!
  5. Take Advantage Of Fluoride – The fluoride in toothpaste and tap water can help remineralize tooth enamel so it’s less susceptible to bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities. So after they’ve had an energy drink or soda, have them rinse their mouth out with water, but make them wait about an hour before they brush! You can also talk to your hygienist at your child’s next dental cleaning about the benefits of fluoride treatments to keep their teeth strong, healthy, and protected! 

Make sure your kids drink plenty of water each day, enforce good oral hygiene habits at home, and follow the helpful tips in today’s blog, and you’ll have an easier time avoiding trips to the dentist for fillings and other restorative dental treatments this summer! Call Hawthorne Smile Spa at 310-982-4895 for an appointment or schedule online.