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Many of us set out to raise our children with the best intentions, but that doesn’t mean they don’t end up developing some bad habits. While many parents are quick to jump in and correct these mistakes, some habits can be more difficult to break than others. One such habit is poor oral health; without proper kids dental care, it can lead to dental problems like cavities or gum disease, requiring costly procedures down the line. Luckily, this type of problem is avoidable if your child drinks enough water every day.
Water can reduce plaque build-up. Plaque is the primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease, so it makes sense that drinking enough water would eliminate or significantly reduce it. When your child drinks water, they should take a few minutes to swish it around their mouth first; this helps loosen the bacteria and makes it easier for them to rinse out.
Your child can cut down or even completely eliminate their intake of sugary drinks like soda and juice by drinking water. These beverages contain sugar and acid, which over time lead to tooth decay; therefore, eliminating them from their diets can significantly reduce the risk for cavities. Remember, statistics show that at least 20% of children aged 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth (per the CDC).
Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, so it’s important to do what you can to prevent it. Drinking water helps because it washes away sugar and acid from food, which reduces plaque build-up. In addition, drinking enough water flushes bacteria out through the saliva, which reduces the likelihood of infection.
When your child drinks water, their saliva naturally becomes diluted, ensuring that it is at the right consistency. Saliva cleans and protects teeth; its alkaline properties help neutralize acid caused by sugary foods, while it also washes away plaque that forms on the tooth’s surface. When your child doesn’t drink enough water, the saliva often becomes too thick, which compromises its ability to do all of these tasks.
Assuming your child currently doesn’t drink enough, they may not notice any significant difference in their oral health at first. This means it will be up to you to hold them accountable and make sure they drink a sufficient amount of water every day. If you make it a habit, your child will probably catch on and make drinking water an enjoyable part of their daily routine.