February is Children's Dental Health month! We love our sweet little patients here at Mason Elite Dentistry. Over the years and throughout training, one emphasis on preventing decay in kids is making sure they are not drinking sugary drinks. A pediatric dentist from Kentucky created this graphic to help guide our children in when certain drinks are appropriate.
Water can be consumed whenever. As your child becomes a toddler, giving them a water bottle each day to carry throughout the house or out and about is recommended to keep them hydrated. Not to mention, if it spills on the carpet it is no big deal!
Milk with meals is something that is optional. Milk provides calcium and vitamin D, but it not essential if child is allergic to dairy or if you prefer to stick with water. When choosing milk I would recommend sticking to "white" plain milk as strawberry and chocolate milk have added sugar that can contribute to dental caries.
Juice just once! Juice does not provide much, if any, nutrients that your child cannot get easily elsewhere. It is important to note that an appropriate serving size of juice is 6-8 ounces. This is about a juice box size. If putting juice in a cup, make sure you're not filling a large cup to the top. This will only give your child a huge sugar spike and fuel for cavity causing bacteria.
Pop at parties. Pop, coke, soda, and sports drinks fall into the category and are not something we want to be providing our kids with often. When given the choice of water or a fizzy, sugary, drink that is formulated to optimize addiction, your child will most likely choose pop. As a gatekeeper of our home, if we do not purchase these type of drinks we can dramatically reduce our kids consumption of these drinks.
In addition to limiting sugary drinks we recommend parents continue to help their children brush teeth until they are able to tie their shoes. The dexterity required to tie shoes is similar to the skills needed to navigate all of the surfaces of the teeth. Brushing is recommended morning and night. Once baby molars come through and touch, it is also a good idea to introduce your child to dental floss. If you have questions on how to keep your little ones in great dental health, please let us know!