It can be difficult to get kids to drink water, but it is especially important if they are active! The amount of water a child or teen needs each day depends on factors such as age, weight, and gender. As a general rule to get enough water, your child or teen should drink at least 6 to 8 (eight-ounce) cups of water a day.
Tips to promote drinking more water
- Use fun shaped straws
- Infuse water with flavor by adding fruits like berries, cucumbers, lemons, and limes
- Freeze ice cube trays with berries and add this to your water to keep it extra cold
- Provide your child with their own special drinking cup.
- Buy tiny water bottles (4 or 8 ounces) that are easy for kids to hold and drink. Teach and encourage them to use the faucet to fill their cup or how to use the water dispenser on the fridge.
- Set up a reward system when your child drinks more water. Give your child a reward sticker for drinking their water or do a special dance when they give you an empty bottle.
- Be a role model. The more your children see you carrying out healthy habits, the more likely they are to do the same.
- Carry a water bottle. Keep one for your child in your car, put one in their backpack, take it on trips and keep it in your refrigerator at home.
- Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles for ice-cold water all day long.
- Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages can include fruit drinks, sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade, and non-diet soda.
- Choose water instead of other beverages when eating out.
Set a Hydration Example
You and the other adults in your child’s life can set an example by regularly reach for water, bring a water bottle along with them, seek out water fountains, etc. Make it more fun for your entire family to reach their daily water goals by putting together a chart.
Why water is so good for your oral health:
It strengthens your teeth
Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities. Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter and occurs naturally in varying amounts in water sources.
It keeps your mouth clean
Drinking juice or soda leaves unwanted sugar behind on your teeth. The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that wears away enamel, which is the outer shell of your teeth. Many of these drinks also have added acids to make them taste less sweet, but those acids also cause trouble by eroding away enamel.
Water cleans your mouth with every sip. It washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria are looking for. It also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
It fights dry mouth
Saliva is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. When your saliva supply runs low, dry mouth may put you at risk for tooth decay. Drinking water can help cut your risk as you and your dentist work to find the best long-term solution for you.
Water will always be an important part of our lives, no matter how old or young you are. Just as you would encourage a child to start reading when they’re young to help their literacy, you’ll want to encourage them to reach for a glass of water to quench their thirst so they stay healthy and hydrated.
Help your young ones understand the importance of H2O in their lives. Explain to them how not enough water in their bodies can affect their day-to-day and books can help illustrate and demonstrate how our bodies rely on water.