The adage “you are what you eat” holds true for your child’s teeth, especially when it comes to drinks. Oftentimes, drinks are not only laden with sugar, but also acid. It’s the acid in these drinks that are incredibly bad for your child’s teeth.
But which drinks are the worst for your child’s teeth? Here’s a look at some of the worst offenders,
Worst drinks for kids’ teeth
- Carbonated sodas
Did you know a soft drink has as much sugar as a king-sized candy bar? That’s a lot of sugar! The carbonation in soda also creates a lot of acid which weakens the structure of teeth. And if you think diet drinks are safe, think again. Artificial sweeteners are laden with acidic ingredients which also damage teeth. Both regular and diet sodas include nearly as much acid as battery acid! And be careful of canned iced teas. Even though they’re not carbonated, they contain organic acids intended to enhance flavor. While they may taste good, these acids will wreak havoc on tooth enamel.
- Sports drinks
Sports drinks are filled with sugars and acid. In fact, the pH of most sports drinks is 2.9. Water is 0, so you can tell how much damage sports drinks are capable of doing. If your child insists on drinking sports drinks, make sure he or she drinks it in one sitting instead of sipping on it over an extended period. Afterwards, have your child brush his or her teeth and rinse well with water.
- Fruit juice
Despite containing vitamin C, fruit juices like apple and orange juice are extremely bad for your teeth. Some varieties of apple juice have 10 teaspoons of sugar per serving! That’s as much as most popular sodas! Look for low sugar varieties or versions that have more than 50 percent natural fruit juice. For high-sugar varieties, cut the juice by adding water.
- Artificial fruit drinks
While they may not be carbonated, fruity drinks like lemonade and fruit punch are packed with sugar and artificial flavoring. Both of these things can lead to decay and damage to your enamel.
- Energy drinks
Highly caffeinated energy drinks are also very high in sugar which erodes tooth enamel. In fact, one study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that sports and energy drinks damaged teeth more than soda or fruit drinks.
- Black tea
Some types of tea are OK for your teeth but black tea has been shown to be corrosive to tooth enamel. While unsweetened green tea is usually a good option, black tea can damage teeth, especially if consumed in large quantities over an extended time period.
Better drink choices for kids
We’ve identified which drinks are the worst for your kids to drink, but what is safe to drink? Here are some of the best choices to fill your child’s glass.
Best drinks for kids
There’s no question that water is the best beverage option for your kids’ health. Water has no negative health effects, and tap water includes fluoride which strengthens teeth from the inside out. Plus, water washes away food particles from teeth so they don’t cause tooth decay.
Milk contains calcium, phosphorous and casein, each of which helps strengthen teeth. And while milk does contain a natural sugar called lactose, it doesn’t corrode teeth the way other types of sugar can.
Your child’s teeth have to last a lifetime so take steps now to protect them. By consuming high amounts of sugar in drinks, your child’s teeth are at risk. Sugar and acid eat away at tooth enamel which leads to cavities and decay. If your child occasionally has a sugary drink, be sure he or she brushes and rinses well afterwards to remove sugar and acid from the surface of the teeth.
If you’d like to learn more about your child’s oral hygiene, contact our office today for an appointment. We’d love to discuss your child’s oral health and help you find ways to keep his or her teeth strong and healthy.