coffee beverages child oral health

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For millions of Americans, a trip to the nearest coffee shop is a daily occurrence. Those with kids will often bring them along, and may even begin introducing them to certain drinks available, including non-caffeinated options for children that are a bit too high-energy.
At Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry, part of our preventive dentistry services involve informing and educating parents on the daily risks present to their kids’ teeth – and the local Starbucks or similar coffee shop might be one such risk you haven’t considered closely enough. Let’s look at why these can be dangerous places for the young mouth, plus a few drinks you should steer far clear of if you must bring your child with you every time.

Sugar Risks

The primary issue with a huge percentage of the drinks available at stores like these: Sugar. As we’ve discussed many times in this blog, sugar is a major food source for bacteria on the teeth, plus leads to acid creation that wears down tooth enamel. Together, these risks make sugar one of the leading causes of cavities and tooth decay.
And make no mistake, the drinks at coffee shops – even the ones without caffeine in them – are loaded up with sugar. Not only will these products risk your child’s oral health, they are also highly likely to exceed the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation for sugar intake, impacting their heart and overall health risks in the process.

Kids Menu – Still Risky

Many of these establishments will offer kids menus, including options that come with far less sugar and caffeine than those on the main menu. Here’s the thing, though: Even these lowered sugar amounts are still very high in the grand scheme of things, and still present major risks.
Even kids drinks in this realm almost all contain at least 25 grams of sugar – that’s as much as kids should be having in an entire day, much less a single drink. Even a Starbucks drink that seems like it should be fine – steamed apple juice – has FIFTY grams of sugar in it!

High-Risk Drinks

If you must take your child to Starbucks or another similar shop, there are a few drinks you should absolutely be avoiding at all costs (this is just a partial list, to be clear):
• White chocolate mocha: This drink and its varieties all contain at least 54 grams of sugar per beverage, often over double what your child should be consuming in a single day (and more than what you, an adult, should be consuming as well).
• Frappuccino: There are all sorts of these drinks around today, and they’re insanely packed with sugar. This is the case for every Frappuccino variety you might run into, and there are several.
• Cinnamon Dolce Crème: This is a Starbucks creation that’s marketed as a kid’s menu item – but as we noted above, isn’t actually kid-friendly at all. It has over 25 grams of sugar just for the smallest version of the drink, and much more in larger versions.
For more on the risks to your children of beverages from coffee shops, or to learn about any of our children’s dentist services, speak to the staff at Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry today.