Best and Worst Drinks for Your Teeth

Do you know how much sugar your child consumes through liquids every day? You might not realize it, but many of your child’s favorite drinks—even the ones that you might assume are healthy—are loaded with sugar. Yes, you can read the confusing labels and attempt to keep track, but that’s a difficult and time-consuming task for most parents. Let’s take a look at several popular drinks and discuss which are best for your child’s smile!

The Best Answer: Water
Water is the absolute best choice for your child for many reasons. First, it actually hydrates. Kids are on the move constantly, and water will keep them active in the healthiest way possible. Water is also completely sugar-free. Importantly, water also acts as a natural cleansing agent for kids’ mouths. It helps to wash away any sugar or bacteria left on their teeth from all of the snacks that kids like to have on-hand. A bonus tip from dental professionals is to make sure your kids are occasionally getting tap water to drink for its added fluoride benefits.

Best in Moderation: Milk and Juice
As children graduate out of bottles and onto sippy cups and eventually to regular cups, parents often swap out that formula or breastmilk for cow/plant milk and juice. This is totally fine—as long as it’s in moderation. Milk and many fruit juices boast “no added sugar,” but the natural sugar found in both of these is much higher than you might expect. We recommend that milk be offered only at meals, as the limitation will help encourage moderation. Also, the act of consuming and chewing food helps remove the sugars from your child’s teeth.

Drinks to Monitor: Sodas, Sports Drinks, and More
Sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks should be monitored even more closely than milk and juice. While they are undoubtedly a delicious treat, their sugar content poses a threat to your child’s oral health if not consumed in moderation. 

Although sodas might be your child’s top beverage choice, it’s important to regulate their consumption. We recommend that parents skip them altogether or ask kids to drink a certain amount of water each day before sodas are made available.

Sports drinks are also popular for kids as they grow and can be very beneficial for refueling electrolytes after sports or other physical activity. Unfortunately, most of them have a surprisingly high sugar content, which means they should be consumed in moderation. We recommend reserving these for post-exercise and avoiding them as an all-day drink option.

Lastly, energy drinks are at the top of the list of beverages to avoid. In addition to the high sugar and caffeine content found in energy drinks, they are highly acidic and can do real damage to permanent teeth early in life. 

The Statistics
We’d like to remove some of the stress for parents and easily give you the information you need to make an informed decision. We’ve measured out the sugar for each of these drinks, which you can find below.

Bottle of Highland Whole Milk: 2 tbsp
Bottle of  Highland Strawberry Milk: 4 tbsp
Bottle of Highland Chocolate Milk: 5 tbsp
Capri-Sun Pouch: 1 tbsp
JuicyJuice Box: 2 tbsp
Bottle of Orange Gatorade: 2 tbsp
Can of Coca-Cola: 2 tbsp
Can of Monster Energy Drink: 5 tbsp
Can of Rockstar Energy Drink: 5 tbsp
Can of Red Bull: 5 tbsp

Find More Resources
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