March 17th, 2016
Kids and teens love sports drinks. In fact, studies have shown that these “thirst quenchers” are consumed by 62% of adolescents every day. But are they good for your child’s body or teeth? And are they truly necessary for sports performance? Here are a few facts:
Sports drinks contain more sugar than you may realize.
After water, the second ingredient in some popular brands of sports drinks is high fructose corn syrup. Some sports drinks contain as much as 19 grams of added sugar which means that bacteria present in your child’s mouth are being given exactly what they need to grow.
The high acidity of sports drinks can damage tooth enamel.
A 2012 study showed that sports drinks often have high acidity. This acid interferes with the mouth’s ability to regulate a healthy pH and can lead to the wearing away of enamel. While tooth enamel is literally the hardest substance in the human body, it’s no match for a steady stream of acid.
Sports drinks are full of salt.
Some sports drinks contain up to 200 milligrams of sodium per serving. Keep in mind that a “serving” is usually 8 ounces, which means that a large bottle of the leading sports drink can have more sodium than a bag of potato chips.
Sports drinks can be high in calories.
Even though they generally contain fewer calories than soda, sports drinks can still be high in calories due to their serving sizes and the large amount that many kids drink. Sports drinks make up 10-15% of the daily caloric intake of most teens and aside from their intended purpose, these beverages aren’t always consumed in conjunction with sports.
Sports drinks are best suited for intense physical activity.
If your child is participating in an intense game with constant movement and an elevated heart rate, a small serving of sports drinks may come in handy from time to time. But most youth sports don’t involve that level of activity. Fluoridated water is almost always a better choice.
The bottom line is that most kids don’t really need sports drinks. Consuming what amounts to sugar water simply isn’t necessary for the majority of sports or outdoor activities. We encourage you to read labels and be aware of everything your child drinks. Keep your child hydrated and make certain that you child is drinking plenty of water.
August 27th, 2015
No parent wants their child to have cavities and the majority of us take special care to ensure that each dental visit ends cavity-free. Yet, tooth decay remains the most common preventable childhood disease in the U.S. Here are a few simple mistakes that, if corrected, could save children from millions of cavities.
Not Starting Prevention Early Enough
Many parents wait until children are almost school-age before setting the first dental appointment and before they begin focusing on good oral habits. However, oral care should truly begin before primary teeth even appear. For example, parents can use a soft, damp cloth to clean their baby’s gums after each feeding. Scheduling the first dental appointment should also take place when the first tooth appears or before the age of one, whichever comes first. Finding a dental home early in your child’s life is one of the most important preventative measures you can take for your child’s oral future.
Baby bottles and Sippy Cups at Bedtime
Even though 80% of parents say they know that children should not be put to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, a surprising number of parents still do just that on a regular basis. Regularly allowing your children’s teeth to be constantly bathed in liquids other than water is one of the most significant contributors of early tooth decay. Even diluting juice with water can give bacteria the sugar they need to thrive inside your child’s mouth.
Not Teaching Kids to Floss
Most parents do a fantastic job of teaching their kids to brush their teeth (two minutes, twice a day!) But recent studies have shown that 43% of school-aged children have never flossed their teeth…not even once. Brushing alone only reaches a quarter of tooth surfaces and a large number of cavities are actually found where a toothbrush can’t go – between teeth. It is important to floss for young children, who often don’t have the dexterity to floss on their own. Older children should be taught the correct way to floss daily. Here’s a great instructional sheet that provides some guidelines on flossing.
Thinking Sports Drinks are Better than Sodas
These days, nearly all parents are vigilant about keeping sodas away from their children. But one source of sugar may have simply been replaced by another. Sports drinks often contain just as many calories and sugar as soft drinks. Instead of serving kids sports drinks during sporting events and games, a better option is simply water. The types of activities that kids are involved in are rarely strenuous enough to require anything else.
Are you looking for a dental home for your children? Give us a call today!