We all know brushing and flossing are important for a healthy smile, but we often don’t consider how what we eat, and especially drink, affects our teeth. One of the most detrimental things for our children’s teeth is sugar, especially when it’s in the form of juice and other sweet beverages and it’s being sipped on throughout the day.
A sugar-sweetened beverage is a drink sweetened with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners. Sugar-sweetened beverages can include the things we know are bad for our children, like soda and energy drinks. But they also include the things our children tend to enjoy most, like flavored waters, flavored milks, and even certain types of juice often served in sippy cups. Not all juice is 100% fruit juice. Juice with added sugar can contain as much sugar as an 8 oz. soda—something parents don’t often realize due to the way juice is marketed.
When young children sip on juice and sugary drinks throughout the day, the sugar is fueling cavity-causing bacteria on their teeth. Most people don’t realize cavities can spread from baby teeth to adult teeth, but they can—because the bacteria that are fed by the sugar have “set up shop” in the child’s mouth. The result can be a lifetime of costly, painful dental problems.
So what should parents do?
If your child already drinks juice and other sugary drinks, limit those beverages to mealtimes, and give your child only water between meals and especially at bedtime. Water between meals and at bedtime will help keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity-free.
Because water is so good for our teeth, bodies and minds (our bodies are made of mostly water!), we’re challenging families, schools, youth organizations and our community to participate in Water Wednesday.
What’s Water Wednesday? On Wednesdays, serve only water to keep your child’s teeth beautiful, healthy and cavity-free. Add some sliced up fruit to make your child’s water more interesting! Send us a picture of how your family or organization implements Water Wednesday by using #WaterWednesday on social media, and be on the lookout for more information coming soon. Water Wednesday is also great for employers. Ask your employees to drink only water on Wednesdays—it’ll benefit their health and even promote better mental focus.
Here are more benefits of drinking water over sugar-sweetened beverages:
• Drinking tap water instead of sugary drinks reduces the amount of sugar on kids’ teeth.
• Water helps control calories. If we drink more water, we aren’t as thirsty for sugary drinks.
• Water energizes your muscles. When muscles don’t have enough water, they don’t work as well.
• Water keeps your skin looking good and helps your kidneys cleanse your body of toxins.
To learn more about the importance of baby teeth and why children need more water, visit www.CavitiesGetAround.com.