Being a parent is no easy task especially for those working to ensure the future dental health of their children. While some parents may think it is okay to pay minimal attention to baby teeth as they will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, nothing is further from the truth as tooth decay and cavities can happen to anyone at any age.
Baby teeth start to erupt during the first 4 to 10 months of life. By the time a child reaches their first birthday having six to eight teeth is the norm and when the terrible twos hit, the average kid will have a smile filled with approximately 20 teeth. Taking care of milk teeth is essential from the get-go as the National Center for Health Statistics indicated that nearly 20 percent of children aged 2 to 5 have untreated cavities (Health, United States, 2009 With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Hyattsville, MD). The chronic infectious disease can cause a myriad of issues including toothaches (resulting in missed school days), development problems, malnutrition and low self-esteem.
Because children are especially vulnerable to dental problems, caregivers need to be vigilant in teaching their children about oral hygiene and ensuring that brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are part of the process. In addition to those behaviors, adults must make sure that they implement a strategy of "dental don'ts" for the well being of the younger generation.
Don't Give Kids Performance Drinks
Energy drinks have a history dating back to 1929 England, but the product market really started to take off when Gatorade was first introduced as a sports drink in the 1960s. Since that time the consumer marketplace has become flooded with a large assortment of performance enhancement beverages and although they may be viable options for adults, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that the products may actually be harmful to children's teeth and general wellness.
Sports drinks contain ingredients such as electrolytes that have specifically designed to help athletes rehydrate after enduring their physical challenges. Energy drinks contain stimulants to give a bit of a perk. Regardless of the type of performance drink, they both contain additives including caffeine that can be harmful to children.
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and some energy drinks contain the equivalent of 14 cans of soda. While that amount may be a challenge for most adults to manage, the ingredient may negatively impact "...developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems" in kids (http://www.ada.org/news/5970.aspx). Additionally caffeine can cause a child to expel too much energy and tooth grinding (AKA bruxism) and tooth clenching can be an unfortunate result. Those conditions will cause unnecessary wear and tear and teeth and make a child especially vulnerable to tooth decay, tooth erosion and tooth enamel deconstruction.
Instead of those types of drinks, drinking clean, fresh water is a smarter move.