Many parents aren’t getting the message that sugary drinks, other than soda, are not healthy alternatives for your kids. As orthodontic treatment providers, we are not only concerned the added sugar is unhealthy in our kids diets, the drinks also promote decalcification or permanent white marks around brackets if patients are not brushing or rinsing their mouths after drinking.
The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut recently published a new study in public health nutrition in March 2015. The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on improving health and health care.
Did you know that the most recent federal dietary guidelines recommend limiting added sugar to 10% of total calories? So if a juice box is 50 calories, the sugar content should be 5 grams to pass muster.
Some interesting statistics found in the Rudd Study are:
- Nearly half of parents surveyed rated flavored waters healthy, and more than one quarter considered fruit drinks and sports drinks to be healthy.
- The most common sugary drinks the parents give kids are fruit drinks. These were given by 77% of parents in the past month and some 80% of parents of children to age 2 to 5 provided fruit drinks such as Capri Sun and Sunny D which do not meet federal dietary guidelines.
- The vast majority of parents surveyed stated they give kids sugary drinks regularly with 96% of parents in the month prior to the survey.
- Parents stated they were influenced by nutritional marketing claims stating the ingredients are real or natural or contained vitamins, antioxidants, or were low in sugar, sodium, and calories.
Kids and teens by nature will always choose the sweetened drink over good old fashioned water. Curtailing the amount of sugary drinks you allow your children to consume on a regular basis by being smart about what you purchase and distribute at home will go a long way in teaching your kids good nutritional habits and healthy lifestyles. And during orthodontic treatment, it will protect their teeth from the ravages of sugar deposits around the braces.