How Much Sugar is in These Popular Drinks?

Taking care of your child’s teeth is another aspect of the love you provide as a parent. However, with so many options available on store shelves, it’s not always easy to know what foods and drinks are harmful to children’s developing teeth. Here’s a look at several common types of beverages and how much sugar they contain. High sugar drinks could be contributing to the cavities your child’s dentist finds during periodic examinations.

Soft Drinks

Cola drinks have been a staple of American snacking for decades, but these drinks are high in sugar content. A 20-ounce soda contains 65 grams of sugar. That’s enough sugar to do significant damage to teeth, as well as create problems with weight and blood sugar levels.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinkshave become a popular option for active people. However, these drinks contain high amounts of sugar, about 21 grams in a 12-ounce glass, which can contribute to weight problems and tooth decay.

Fruit Juices

A 16-ounce glass of fruit juice such as apple or orange juice contains 48 to 52 grams of sugar. Although fruit juices have other nutritional benefits, the amount of sugar can be damaging to teeth if children drink it throughout the day.

Iced Tea Drinks

Commercially sold iced tea drinks contain up to 51 grams of sugar, which can damage teeth and create weight problems when consumed throughout the day. Depending on the flavorings added to the tea, the amount of sugar could be even higher. 


The amount of sugar in lemonades can vary widely. Homemade lemonade can be adjusted to provide less sugar and a more tart flavor. Commercially sold lemonade can have up to 67 grams of sugar, which can inhibit appetite, add empty calories and damage tooth enamel.


Milk is one of the less damaging beverages for children’s teeth, generally containing about 11 grams of sugar. For those who avoid dairy products, soy milk contains 8 grams of sugar, while almond milk contains about 7 grams of sugar.
When children ask for something to drink, the best beverage you can offer them is water, which is free of sugar and additives and helps to flush debris and bacteria from their teeth. Avoid sugary drinks as much as possible! 

If you’re concerned your child might have a cavity or if it’s time to schedule his or her next cleaning, give Playtime Dental a call

Sports Drinks are Bad for Children’s Teeth

It is common for kids playing outside in the heat to grab a sports drink to re-hydrate and stay cool, but these drinks may be the cause of more trips to the kid’s dentist for oral health problems. Drinking too many of these sugar-filled sports drinks can be harmful to a child’s oral health.  Sports drinks are everywhere, including school cafeterias, because they are thought to be a safe alternative for children to consume.  Although they may be a healthier alternative to sodas, these drinks are just as capable of causing tooth decay.

Acid and Teeth

Many people associate enamel erosion with the bacteria found in the mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene habits.  Unfortunately, highly acidic foods and drinks can cause significant damage to teeth without the help of bacteria.  Sports drinks contain high levels of citric acid or phosphoric acid, which may leave children’s teeth more prone to cavities and tooth decay. Once acid erosion starts to attack the enamel on teeth, the teeth often become more sensitive to hot foods, cold foods, touch and pressure, which causes problems with eating, biting and brushing.

Sugar and Teeth

Just like soda, sports drinks contain a high concentration of sugar and although sugar itself doesn’t rot the teeth, the acid that is produced from bacteria due to the sugar, does.  Sugar feeds the bacteria that live in our mouths. When children drink sports drinks and other beverages that contain a lot of sugar, the bacteria consumes the sugars, turning the sugars into a harmful acid that eventually causes erosion of the tooth enamel and causes cavities. The best way to remove the acid causing bacteria is to brush, but sports drinks are often sipped frequently throughout the day, which lengthens the amount of time the acids and sugars are on the teeth, leading to plaque and decay.  Enamel demineralization leads to cavities on the areas of teeth that have an accumulation of plaque, which is caused by sugars and the bacteria.
Not only can the excess sugars in these drinks cause tooth decay in children, but it may lead to obesity, diabetes and other health issues.  All of these can have a negative effect on oral health.  

If you are concerned your child may have cavities as a result of drinking sports drinks, contact his or her dentist to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and thorough examination.