Curious What Kids Under the Age of 5 Should Drink? | 2020 GUIDELINES

As a parent or caregiver of kids under the age of 5, you have a major responsibility to help them learn healthy habits that protect their overall wellbeing. Over the years, food and beverage trends have come and gone, and you may be wondering exactly what you are supposed to be giving your child to quench their thirst. While juice boxes and flavored kinds of milk might be advertised all over parenting websites and magazines, the truth is that you need to be cautious about what your child puts into their mouth. In this post, we’re going to show you how to satisfy your angel’s thirst. Let’s dive right in.


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What Kids Under the Age of 5 Should Drink

  • During the past few months, new recommendations have been made regarding what kids under the age of 5 should be given as a beverage. Although it may not be readily obvious, some of the most popular kid’s beverages are not good for their overall development or oral health. Reading up on the latest recommendations helps you be proactive about your child’s health.


Who Comes Up With the New Beverage Guidelines?

  • In today’s world, it can often seem as though parents are constantly being hit with new recommendations for what foods and beverages to give their kids. While you will find many different things said online and through social media, it is important to be able to recognize a reputable source.
  • The new guidelines are put together through a combined effort by several major health organizations throughout the world. Whenever you read a report, look for names such as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These organizations base their recommendations upon the latest research-proven facts.


What Beverages are Best for Children?

  • For newborns and infants up to the age of six months, the current recommendation is still that breast milk or formula should be the only beverages that they consume. While you can continue to provide breast milk or formula until your child is around one year of age, you can begin to introduce small amounts of water after your child is six months old. Keep in mind, however, that breast milk and formula should still be their primary beverage. Water should only be given if your kid is already full and they are thirsty or dehydrated.
  • Once your child is over the age of six months, you can begin to give them small amounts of juice and regular milk. Keep in mind, however, that the amount of these beverages that they should have is likely smaller than many parents would think. For instance, kids between the ages of one and three should have no more than one-half cup of juice a day. When you look at the amount that is included in many juice boxes, you can see how easy it might be to go over the recommendations. Kids under the age of 5 love drinks in any guise.


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How Much Milk is Enough?

  • Once your child reaches one year of age, they should be getting many of their nutrients from other food sources. However, milk is still important for building strong bones and teeth. Younger kids between the ages of one and two should still be drinking whole milk.
  • They should have about one to two cups of milk a day. Once your child hits the age of two, you can switch to low fat or skim milk, and try to limit the amount to two cups a day at most. Older kids should continue to enjoy low fat or skim milk, and they should have less than two and one-half cups each day.


Why Should I Worry About Plant-Based Milk?

  • One area of the new recommendations that has many parents asking questions is the part where plant-based milk is not recommended when cow or dairy milk is available. While many parents love the health benefits provided by milk that comes from oats, rice, and almonds, the truth is that these beverages do not offer the same amounts of calcium and vitamin D as traditional dairy milk.
  • As always, you must make your decisions based upon your child’s health since you clearly shouldn’t give a child with dairy allergies a type of milk that could make them sick. However, an allergy-free child may be better off having dairy milk if it is tolerated simply to provide them with more calcium that helps build strong teeth.


What is Wrong With Juice?

  • Juice is another controversial beverage that is impacted by the guidelines. While kids naturally love the sweetness of grape and apple juice, parents should be cautious about the sugar and acid levels that these beverages contain. A young child’s teeth are still developing, and the sugars in juice can lead to decay. Enamel erosion is also a concern if kids fall asleep with juice still in their mouth.
  • The good news is that juice is not completely off the table. Kids just need to enjoy it in moderation. Always look for 100% juice on the label, and give four and five year olds no more than three-quarters of a cup each day. Younger kids should have even less.


How Much Water Is Enough?

  • Water is the one beverage that your child can have pretty much without limits since their thirst levels are usually regulated by their body’s needs. An expert dentist will tell you that water should even be offered after having sugary beverages since it helps to rinse away acids that cause cavities. Once your child is a year old, you can give them three to four cups of water each day. Most parents find that offering water with meals and between helps their child stay properly hydrated.


How Can I Help My Child Prevent Tooth Decay?

  • As a final note, the best way to prevent tooth decay is to watch what food and beverages go into your child’s mouth while also sticking to regular dental appointments. Teaching your child healthy drinking and oral hygiene habits now helps them to enjoy a healthy future.





Kids under the age of 5 need overseeing. Do you have other questions about your child’s oral health? Give Dr. Engel a call to schedule an appointment. We can update you on the latest recommendations while keeping an eye out for early dental health problems that need treatment.

  • Which tip will you try first???
  • Either way, let us know by leaving a comment below right now and continue the conversation. @kindersmiles for Twitter information.


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Curious What Kids Under the Age of 5 Should Drink? | 2020 GUIDELINES

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