Cherry Family Dentistry – Go easy on sugary drinks this summer

Little league baseball player portrait

I know we are all beginning to doubt this, but SUMMER IS COMING. It is hard to believe when we look outside and snowflakes are coming down in April, but it is coming, I promise you. When it gets here, we will all want some cold weather. Kids will be out of school soon, and the sports will begin. Soccer, baseball, softball and more. We will work all day and rush home to get the cooler ready to go to the game. Fruit punch, check. Gatorade, check. Water, check. Sodas, check. Anything to quench the thirst in the heat.

This week we bought some fruit punch because the kids were getting tired of apple juice. Why does fruit punch taste so good? Have you ever looked at the label on the fruit juices your kids are drinking? If you did, you might be surprised that some of them have more sugar in them than a soda. One of my favorites, Minute Maid Apple Juice, has over 66 grams of fructose, or fruit sugar. Wow! Coca Cola only has 62.5 grams of sugar. Many people think because it is fructose it is healthier than glucose, or sugar. It is not. In fact, your body can use glucose, but fructose is actually stored in the liver as fat.

So, what should I give my kids to drink in the heat? Water is a great alternative. It’s not as sweet, but it sure if better for them. Some good rules I try to go by are: 1. If they want a soda or fruit drink, make sure they drink it with their meal. 2. NO juices or sodas between meals, only water. 3. Rinse mouth out with water if a toothbrush is not handy after having juice or soda. 4. Never put fruit punch or soda in your baby’s bottle to sip on all afternoon.

These are just some helpful hints to help you to keep your kid’s mouths healthy. Remember that fructose and glucose are broken down into acid, which will make the enamel, soft and form cavities. So if your kid is sipping on a juice or soda all afternoon it is bathing their teeth in acid.

Here’s a look at the sugar content in some of my favorite drinks. Always be sure to check the label of a beverage for sugar content.

– Mountain Dew: 72.3

– Minute Made Apple Juice: 66.0

– Pepsi: 65.7

– Coca-Cola: 62.5

– Dr. Pepper: 61.4

– Arizona Tea: 59.3

– Ocean Spray Cranberry: 55.4

– Kool-Aid Jammer: 49.0

– 7-UP: 45.8

– Hawaiian Punch: 41.0

– Sunny D: 32.8

– Gatorade Lemon Lime: 23.2

– Water: 0

Remember, labels can be tricky to read; sometimes they will say sucrose instead of fructose or glucose or sugar. Remember to check it out online if confused.

Oh, and by the way, have a great summer! Good luck in the games, and we will see you when you come in for your checkup.

Happy Mother’s Day from Dr. Cherry and staff!