Milk contains calcium, phosphates and vitamin D that is required for the overall health of bones and also of the teeth and gums. Milk also has some amount of sugars on its own. So the best choice is a full fat, unsweetened, whole milk for your child. Since the major mineral of the teeth is calcium, giving your child two glasses of milk everyday supplies the body with the required amount of calcium. The combination of calcium and phosphorous encourages remineralization while the proteins found in milk, called caseins, create a protective layer that helps the enamel keep decay at bay. Milk also decreases the acid levels in plaque so it’s suggested that kids drink milk after eating something with sugar. Finally, research indicates milk may aid in preventing periodontal disease. With so much goodness in one glass of milk, its the next best choice for your kids.
Milk alternatives like almond milk and soy milk
If your child is allergic to cow’s milk, then the alternative to cow’s milk is almond milk or soy milk. These alternative milks may not be as rich in nutrients as cow’s milk and hence you have to take care to give your child almond milk or soy milk that is fortified with calcium, vitamin A, B12 and D.
Most drinkable yogurt products contain the same nutrients as found in cow’s milk, however, it is important to watch out for the sugar content in these drinks. It is important to give your child the organic variety since they are not heat treated after fermentation. You could also set the curds at home with full fat milk, and add some fruits for flavouring, which makes a great drink for your child and also supplies the required nutrients intact.
Fruit juice, tomato or vegetable juice
Although, fruit juice may seem be an easier way to get your child have something healthy, it’s better to give your child fresh fruits to eat instead. The whole fruit has its fibre, vitamins and nutrients intact. The chewing action also helps in the cleansing of the teeth and stimulates the jaw growth in the child. If however, you have to juice up the fruit, ensure that it has no added sugars.
Be careful in picking up the vegetable juice from the shelves. Some of these vegetable juices can contain more than half of a child’s daily recommended sodium allowance in one serving. Serve the veggies as a salad instead.
Drinks in moderation for your child
Either the homemade or store bought version of the lemonade has copious amounts of sugar or artificial sweetener in its preparation. Although lemonade is high in vitamin C, which is actually excellent for your dental health since it decreases inflammation and strengthens your gums and soft tissues, helping to prevent periodontal disease, it may not be the best beverage to offer your little one, especially when it comes to their dental health.
The acidity in the drink can be dangerous, as it erodes the teeth’s enamel leading to tooth decay. Weakened enamel can cause sensitivity and discoloured teeth. The high sugars cause cavities. If you are making your own fresh squeezed fruit juice, be sure to include some pulp into it for the fibre. Also ensure to give your child some water to rinse well afterwards and wait till 30minutes before brushing the teeth with a fluoridated tooth paste.
Plain sparkling water
The carbon dioxide in sparkling water is converted to carbonic acid, which could erode the enamel. However, even with the carbon dioxide, sparkling water is not as acidic as the soda. The exact cause and effect of this drink on the health of the teeth is yet to be determined.
Worst drinks for your child
These drinks have absolutely no nutritional value. In addition they contain large amounts of caffeine, sugar and other additives. In a study, energy drinks actually stripped away more tooth enamel than sports drinks. Both the sugar and sugar-free energy drinks have added citric acid, which eats away at the enamel and leaves teeth very susceptible to decay. The high amounts of caffeine causes serious health problems in your child. Its best to keep this drink away from your children.
These drinks are designed for athletes to give endurance an extra boost and to replenish the lost electrolytes through sweating. Kids activity levels never fall into this category. Most sports drinks have no nutritional value and contain empty calories from the added sugars, which contribute to obesity and cavities. They often contain artificial colours and flavours which are also not good for your child. These drinks also contain extra sodium, which your children do not require. If you want to refuel your child after a game you can try fruits, nuts some yogurt or a handful of berries.
Soft drinks have a high sugar content and additives like phosphoric acid, citric acid and sometimes maliec and tartaric acid. These acids are very aggressive on the enamel. These drinks remain on the teeth for longer and are not easily cleaned by the saliva. Its comes as no surprise that soda is one of the worst beverages for your child.
Coffee is one of the big offenders as it stains teeth and also its acidity can wear down the enamel. The caffeine in coffee is also not good for your child as it can cause elevated heart rate and increased blood pressure.
Commercial fruit juices and juice cocktails
Store bought juices are high in sugars and highly acidic. This can be a major cavity causer in your child. Fruit Juice Cocktails can be very deceiving products. Some of these products may contain no actual fruit juice at all. They are often filled with sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives – to increase their shelf-life, and use artificial flavours and colouring.
Despite tea containing antioxidants, it’s more like a dessert than a drink. The high sugar content feeds the bacteria that cause plaque and dries out the mouth. A dry mouth is more susceptible to tooth decay. A study found that canned iced tea dissolved enamel at a rate of 30 times more than coffee. So think well before you give your child this beverage.