Soda and Your Child’s Dental Health

Soda and Your Child’s Dental Health
Posted on 02/23/2018

At our Lynnwood kids dentistry practice, we regularly fill teeth that have been damaged by decay. Often times, the parents of our patients with tooth decay tell us that they’re surprised to learn their kids have cavities because they’re making sure their kids are brushing and flossing every day and limiting how much sugary snacks they eat. When we ask these parents if their kids are allowed to drink soda, we’re usually told that soda is indeed a beverage their kids drink regularly.

What Soda Does to Kids’ Teeth 

If you’re a parent of a child who loves drinking soda, you should know that those carbonated sweet drinks contain two ingredients that put your child at a much greater risk for tooth decay: sugar and acid. When the sugar in soda mixes with bacteria in the mouth, harmful acid is created, which eats away at the protective enamel on teeth. Each acid attack lasts for about 20 minutes and starts all over again with every sip of soda taken. These ongoing acid attacks weaken the tooth enamel to allow the decay process to take place, with the end result being a cavity. Even diet and sugar-free sodas are harmful to teeth as these beverages are loaded with acid. 

 

So what should you do? You should limit how much soda your child drinks or even better, completely eliminate soda from his/her diet. You should also be sure that your child is doing a good job of brushing and flossing and bring him/her in to see a pediatric dentist every six months for routine checkups and cleanings. 

Better Drink Choices for Kids 

Fortunately, soda isn’t the only tasty beverage choice for kids. Here are some alternatives to soda that will quench your child’s thirst and promote better dental health at the same time.

Tap Water: Without question, the best beverage for children to drink is water. Water is void of sugar which makes it the healthiest drink that doesn’t harm the enamel on teeth to cause decay. 

Milk: Milk promotes good dental health because it’s a good source of calcium, protein, and phosphorus which are all nutrients that strengthen the enamel on teeth.

Carbonated Water: Water that’s been carbonated is perfectly safe for kids to consume. Carbonated water has the same fizzy and bubbly characteristic as soda that kids enjoy. You can infuse the water with some mint or watermelon if your child prefers flavored water. 

Questions? Contact Us!

Dr. Clint and his team would like to encourage all you parents out there to try to wean your kids off soda for the sake of their dental health. A good habit to get into is to stop making soda available in the home. This will send the message that soda is for special occasions, and not a daily treat. We also suggest speaking to your kids about the harmful effects soda has on their teeth. If you have any questions or need some more tips for helping break your child’s soda-drinking habit, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help!