Children are especially vulnerable to tooth decay, and during this strange past year, a lot of their health routines got disrupted. At All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, we want the families we care for to know how to set their children up for a lifetime of preventive care. This February, the theme of National Children’s Dental Health Month is the importance of water, so we thought we’d say a bit about why it’s the best drink for oral hygiene and the role it plays in prevention.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria consume sugar and produce acid as a waste product. This is especially a problem for young children, whose baby teeth are softer than permanent teeth. Dentists use the term “baby bottle tooth decay” to describe a pattern of decay that develops in toddlers because they are perpetually taking swigs of sugary drinks from bottles instead of using water to rinse their mouths following set meals. We recommend that parents only fill bottles with water in between meals, and that as children age, they be encouraged to drink water instead of juice or sports drinks at times when they aren’t eating. During the pandemic, children doing distance-learning have been especially likely to snack in between meals, making it even more important for them to be rinsing their mouths with frequent sips of water.
When we’re eating, we produce more saliva, which helps to neutralize acid and wash away sugar residue. But people with dry mouth are more vulnerable to tooth decay, and dry mouth is a common side effect of mood medications. Children need to be taught the importance of staying hydrated, especially when they are playing. By washing away microbes and their food sources, water also helps prevent children from developing bad breath.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.