It’s summer! This means cookouts, camping, picnics, block parties, pool parties, BBQ and playing or watching games. Kids tend to be super active and can become little sweat monsters in no time. This can lead to dehydration and a need for parents to cool them down and rehydrate them. And, we know what type of drinks our kids are always asking for: juice and fruit flavored energy drinks.
As parents, our best intentions are probably to pack water in our kids go bags when they are off to camp or other activities. But, many times we end up filling the lunch box with a juice box or pouch. This is probably okay, when done a certain way. 100% juice does have some great qualities like being high in vitamins and is a source of a fruit serving. But there’s a “good” way of consuming juice. Here are tips from your favorite pediatric dentists on juice and hydration.
- Drink juice, don’t sip it.
We can’t really avoid juice. So, if we’re serving juice, it might as well be real juice – not the liquid and artificial sugars in some juice boxes. It’s just as hydrating as water and the fruit’s natural sugars help replenish used up energy. Teach your child to drink their juice in one continuous sitting and then follow up with a swish of water.
Sipping their juice for hours is what’s devastatingly harmful as the consistent and prolonged expsosure to acids and sugars puts teeth in the danger zone of acidic pH and provides the bacteria in our mouth the fuel they need to make even more acid. Drinking juice quickly or with a meal and rinsing with water cuts down all that acid and normalizes the pH in the mouth quickly.
Diluting tooth-decay causing acid is important. This brings us to…
- Always dilute!
As dentists, our advice is to always dilute juice. Mix just a little juice with a lot of water! If it’s real juice, your kids won’t be able to tell the difference. It’s still delicious and refreshing!
Experiment with infused water: fill a pitcher of water with fruits they love to “infuse” the water with the taste of juice while reducing the acid and sugar. If your kids are picky and don’t like seeing fruit or leaves floating in their drink, use opaque containers in the fridge while you infuse overnight.
- Try carbonated water.
When the kids don’t want water, make it fun with plain carbonated water, which is absolutely safe when nothing else is added: no sugar, no citric acid, no salt. You can also try mixing carbonated water with juice for a fizzy drink to steer your kids away from soda.
Water is still the best. Instead of a juice box, give your kid a cute water bottle to tote everywhere. Staying hydrated is important because bacteria thrives in dry mouths. We suggest getting a sport bottle with the pop up cap that also has a pump mister. Our kids LOVE these. They are called Sip ‘N Mist and they are made by 02Cool. They can be found here.
Drink lots of healthy, non-cavity-causing fluids and keep brushing and flossing. Enjoy the summer! We hope to see you for your summer appointment!
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.
Image Courtesy of chw.org