Fast food is often a necessity for busy parents that need to feed their family with a quick meal. But, Some drinks on the fast food menu are absolutely terrible for teeth.
Sugar is the Problem
Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on teeth, and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes. Sadly, a lot of fast food drinks are packed with sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends children limit their daily sugar intake to less than 26 grams per day, and adults should have less than 36 grams per day. Unfortunately, most of the drinks on fast food menus far exceed 30 grams of sugar – even if the drink is a smaller size.
1 – Starbucks Frappuccino
One of the most popular fast food drinks are Starbucks’ Frappuccinos – and they are absolutely loaded with sugar. Each Frap’ contains AT LEAST 50 grams of sugar per drink. Frappuccinos come in a variety of flavors, but each of them contains far more sugar than anyone needs to consume in one day.
2 – Soft Drinks
Any way you measure it, soft drinks are just awful for teeth. Sodas are awful for teeth because they are high in two of the worst things for teeth: sugar and acid. There are some sodas that contain more than the total recommended amount of daily sugar in one 20 oz. bottle! The high sugar and acid content can eat away the enamel that protects your teeth, and can lead to cavities.
3 – Sports Drinks
Believe it or not, sports drinks and athletic hydration beverages are popular selections at fast food restaurants. But, sports drinks can contain more sugar than leading cola beverages, with as much as 19 grams of sugar per serving. Additionally, sports drinks contain an unhealthy amount of sodium (salt) which can be as much as a bag of potato chips per bottle. Sports drinks can eat away at tooth enamel, and can contain very unhealthy amounts of calories.
4 – Fruit Juice
Fruit juices are often chosen as an alternative to sugary sodas, but did you know that some juices have as much sugar as the leading colas? Apple juice has as much as 10 tsp. of sugar per serving, which is the exact amount as the leading brand cola. Some common fast food fruit juice to look out for is fruit punch, orange juice, apple juice, and lemonade.
Seasonal Bonus! Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
Sorry autumn lovers, but the Pumpkin Spice Latte made by Starbucks is a terrible drink for teeth. The “PSL” is absolutely loaded with sugar at 39 grams of sugar in a small drink, and 50 grams in a medium sized drink. That is almost double the amount of sugar one should intake in one day.
Investigate Before Purchasing
You can research the nutritional value of menu items at most fast food restaurants before dining. You can find out exactly how much sugar each item has on most fast food chain websites. If in doubt, just drink water, which is the healthiest beverage for your teeth and body.
Find a Pediatric Dental Office Near Your Family
A healthy diet has a major effect on a healthy smile. Talk to your pediatric dentist about which foods can positively – and negatively – impact your children’s teeth. If your family doesn’t have a pediatric dentist, then try our pediatric dentist locator tool to find a dental home in your neighborhood.