Cavities are caused by the production of acid from bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria produce acid when sugar is broken down. Every time that sugar is introduced in the mouth, more acid is produced. Sugar not only comes from the food your child eats but also from what he or she drinks. Many of drinks that kids consume throughout the day are high in sugar. Sweet tea, sodas, sports drinks (gatorade), chocolate milk, and juices contain large amounts of sugar. Sodas are especially bad for your teeth because their carbonation is acidic and also weakens the teeth.
Because juices are commonly marketed as healthy and rich in vitamins, many parents are surprised to hear that juices are high in sugar and unhealthy for teeth. Ultimately whether the drink is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or all natural sugar, the result is the same for the teeth. Yes, juices do contain vitamins, but eating an actual piece of fruit has more vitamins and fiber without the added sweetener.
The best drink choices are water and plain white milk, and parents should encourage their children to stick to these two choices. Of course, your child isn’t going to never drink a sugary beverage again. The trick is to limit the number of times during a day these drinks are consumed. If your child is going to have a glass of juice, drink the juice during mealtime instead of in-between meals. Remember, if you can limit the number of times your teeth are exposed to sugar it will lower your chances of getting a cavity.