February is National Children's Dental Health Month. What that means is that dentists across the country make a concerted effort to inform the public about issues that are especially important to the oral health of children. At Ardas Family Dental in Parker, Colorado, we're proud that so many families entrust us with everything from routine cleanings to their teenagers wisdom teeth extractions. This year's theme is the role of water in oral health, so we wanted to spotlight why water is especially important for children and adolescents.
Baby teeth are not as hard as adult teeth, and they decay more easily. This is especially concerning because young children not only struggle to clean their teeth, but also have less choice in how much sugar they're exposed to. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is a phrase dentists use to describe the pattern of decay that occurs on toddlers' teeth when the fronts of their incisors are coated in sugar residue from taking swigs from a bottle throughout the day. Limiting juice and milk to set meal times, and providing young children with water in between, will keep them hydrated while washing away sugar.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is not the only reason it's important to stay hydrated. Saliva helps to neutralize the acid that causes tooth decay and contains enzymes that aid in breaking down food debris. Children may suffer from dry mouth as a side effect of medications, so it's important for them to stay hydrated by drinking water, as opposed to things like sports drinks that are high in sugar and acid. Drinking water is also the most reliable way to clean odor-causing bacteria off the tongue, reducing halitosis, whereas sugary drinks will fuel more bacteria growth. Lastly, we want to remind our patients of the importance of staying hydrated to reduce the mouth's risk of incurring abrasions from braces or other oral appliances teenagers depend on for their long-term oral health.
Dr. Roopi Kattaura operates Ardas Family Dental at 10233 S Parker Rd, Suite 205, Parker, Colorado. Call 720-459-8420 or visit Ardas Family Dental and fill out a contact sheet.