3 Lunchbox Drinks that Could be Rotting Your Children's Teeth and 3 Healthier Alternatives

Dentist Blog

One of the responsibilities of every good parent is to ensure that their children don't go hungry whilst at school. Most parents provide their children with lunchboxes brimming with a variety of treats and snacks, from juice to sweetened milk, and chocolate bars to packets of crisps. However, although they mean well, some parents may actually be adding the kind of sugar-filled drink that cause tooth decay. According to the National Child Oral Health Survey conducted from 2012 to 2014, 1 in 4 Australian kids under the age of 10 suffers from untreated tooth decay. 

However, a little vigilance while packing your child's lunch goes a long way. If you are worried that the drink in your kid's lunchbox might be damaging their teeth, then it is time to make a change. Here are the 3 most common tooth decay-causing culprits, and 3 alternatives you can replace them with.

1. Cartons of Fruit Juice

Although most fruit juice found in supermarkets does contain fiber and vitamins, it is also overloaded with sugar. Because of the way that fruit juice is stored, in large oxygen-free tanks for up to a year, it loses its flavor. This flavor then has to be replaced with flavor packs that contain massive amounts of sugar. 

The bacteria that cause tooth decay love sugar and will gladly devour whatever sugary byproduct is left on your children's teeth, whilst leaving behind an acidic residue that will in turn eat away at tooth enamel, leading to cavities.

Alternative: Fresh fruit

While fresh fruit does contain sugar, it has nowhere near the sugar content of processed fruit juice. Instead of a carton of orange juice, give your child an orange. 

2. Pop

Not only do fizzy drinks like cola and lemonade contain an average of 27.5 grams of sugar per cup, which is more than the 25 gram daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association, they also have a low pH. Anything with a pH level below 5.5 is acidic enough to dissolve tooth enamel. When you take into account that soft drinks can have a pH as low as 2.5, you can understand why pop is bad for your child's teeth. 

Alternative: Water or Lemon Water

While convincing your child to drink water instead of pop may be difficult at first, the benefits of swapping pop for water are worth it. Water will keep your child's body hydrated, especially during those sweltering Aussie summers, and a well-hydrated mouth produces more saliva. As yucky as saliva can seem to children, it is their first defense against tooth decay and acts as an antibacterial agent, keeping cavity-causing bacteria at bay while neutralizing the acid found in many foods. 

If water is too bland, mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with some water and send them to school with that. It may not be as pleasing as pop but at least it helps keep cavities at bay. 

3. Sweetened Milks

Like juices, sweetened milks are sugar-heavy and constant exposure to them will eventually lead to a cavity, which will then progress to tooth decay if left untreated. 

Alternative: Homemade flavored milks

You can easily make healthier flavored milks for your children by adding ingredients like cocoa, vanilla essence or banana to some milk. Milk has a pH of around 6.8, which is about the average pH of human saliva, and so it doesn't erode enamel like pop or fruit juice. 

These three alternative lunchbox drinks will help your children and you to cut down on cavities, whilst allowing nature to take its course without interruption as it replaces baby teeth with permanent teeth. For more tips, speak with a dentist.


21 December 2016

Dental Checkups: Preparing for Your Checkup

Hi! My name is Sarah, and as a busy professional, I understand the importance of making the most of my time. That includes everything from having productive working lunches to making the most of my dental checkups. I have created this blog to help you maximise your dental checkups. In these posts, you can learn how to prepare for your checkup, which questions to ask during your checkup and more. I am also going to have posts explaining why checkups are critical to your dental health as well as the health of your entire body. Happy reading, and thanks for visiting my blog!