As a parent, it’s your responsibility to keep your kids both safe and healthy in any way possible. Obviously you’re going to do your best to keep them out of direct harm, but sometimes even something as harmless as grocery shopping can result in serious damage to the wellbeing of your children.
Buying sugary drinks might give you a few “cool” points for the time being, but you have to weigh these cool points against the damage all that sugar can do to your kids’ teeth. Although popular sports drinks are harmful to teeth, researchers now say that energy drinks actually result in twice as much enamel loss. Energy drinks cause 3.1% tooth enamel loss compared to only 1.5% for sports drinks.
So maybe think about other drinks during your next grocery shopping trip.
In addition to watching what drinks your kids are consuming, you should probably consider taking a look at your drinking habits, too (brace yourself for bad news, folks). Coffee, if you drink enough of it and use unhealthy additions, is just as bad for you as energy drinks are for your kids. You can’t just tell your kids to stop drinking those tooth-damaging sugary drinks, turn around, and pour the third pot of coffee of the day. That sends mixed messages.
Of course, Americans certainly love coffee: the retail value of the U.S. coffee market is estimated to be worth $48 billion dollars. And, of all the coffee drinkers in the U.S., roughly 65% of them prefer to add sugar and/or cream to their drinks, subsequently causing even more damage.
You don’t have to completely cut coffee, energy drinks, or sports drinks out of your family’s diet, but you should consider significantly cutting back.
“Over time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a number of reasons and coffee is a major staining culprit,” said Jim DiMarino, dentist and director of Medical Affairs, to Oral Care division at GSK Consumer Healthcare. “Coffee has intense color pigments called chromogens that attach to the white, outer part of your tooth enamel when consumed frequently.”
In addition to poor dental hygiene, there are a few other negative effects of overindulging in coffee, including poor sleeping habits, jitters, and headaches. Sugary coffee can even negatively effect weight loss plans. According to Daily Camera, Americans actually get about 270 calories a day from added sugars alone.
So if we cut out the sports drinks and coffee, are there any healthy liquids we can enjoy?
Luckily, yes, there are (but you might not love the answer).
Water can actually act as a wonderful alternative to both coffee and energy drinks and can provide us with plenty of that sought after energy — if we drink enough of it.
“[Water] helps stop dehydration and protects the skin, stomach, and body. It also helps to stop cramps and other medical conditions,” said pharmacist Raj Aggarwal. “I would advise people to drink as much as they can and drink regular and often — at least 10 cups if possible.”
Though water might not be as sugary as these other drinks, it’s certainly a healthier option. If you aren’t ready to cut out the coffee or energy drinks, here’s a compromise: replace that second cup, bottle, or extra packet of sugar with a tall glass of water.