Almost a third of the free sugars consumed by 11-18 year olds come from soft drinks including carbonated drinks such as energy drinks, Coke, Fanta and Tango to name a few examples. Such drinks contain Aspartame, a chemical proven to cause addiction and that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Not only does aspartame have a negative effect on your child’s oral and dental health, it’s addictive and can cause withdrawal in the form of a huge sugar low, jeopardising concentration levels and causing those who drink it to crave increasing amounts.
But it’s not just the obvious culprits listed above that can damage your child’s teeth. Certain fruit juices and smoothies contain a monumental amount of sugar (did you know Coke actually bought Innocent Smoothies back in 2013?) signifying just how much it is worth checking labels and the ethics behind the brands you choose; the brands marketing themselves as healthy may well be hiding some sugary secrets on their labels.
The dangers of artificial sweeteners
Many people believe that artificial sweeteners and sugars are better for teeth because they are not as calorific. The problem with this myth is that many people also do not know that it is not sugars that cause cavities, acid does. Natural bacteria in the mouth ingests sugar that is consumed and the waste product, as a result, is acid. This acid decalcifies tooth enamel, wearing down its structure and causing decay – bacteria continues to produce acid even after the sugar is gone. When trying to find sugary alternatives to sugary carbonated drinks and confectionary for your child, make sure you read the labels to check the true sugar content – even 100% fruit juices that are not from concentrate should be enjoyed in moderation as the natural sugar content is also high.
The recommended intake of free sugars is no more than:
- 19g per day for 4-6 year olds > the equivalent of 5 sugar cubes.
- 24g per day for 6-10 year olds > the equivalent of 6 sugar cubes.
- 30g per day for 11 year olds and adults > the equivalent of 7 sugar cubes.
If you would like further advice about keeping your child’s teeth healthy throughout the various stages of their lives, please do not hesitate to speak to our team here in Northampton.