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Tooth Damage and pH Levels in Kids’ Drinks

When packing our kid’s lunches, we almost always try to reach for the easiest option that will please our picky eaters. From juice boxes to energy drinks, sometimes we don’t consider what we’re really sending our kids to school with. In addition to added sugar that can cause cavities and provide a breading ground for gum disease-causing bacteria, many popular drinks have low pH values that can cause damage to kid’s teeth.

But what does pH have to do with oral health and what are the worst drinks for your kids?

Tooth Decay and pH Level

The pH value of our drinks is an indication of how acidic or basic that beverage is. On the pH scale, lower numbers are highly acidic and larger numbers are highly alkaline. As acidic beverages on the pH scale can promote mineral loss or demineralization, continued exposure can cause irreversible damage to our children’s teeth.

With the loss of minerals, teeth become more exposed to the bacteria that can cause cavities or gingivitis. When children are unable to brush their teeth immediately after consuming these beverages, as they would be at school, the bacteria can continue to grow.

To prevent demineralization from occurring, you want to keep drinks above a 5.5 on the pH scale.

Acidic Beverages You Should Avoid

You may be shocked to find that some of the most classic children’s drinks actually have very low pH points, some with closer pH values to battery acid than they do to water. Check out this list of beverages to avoid and their corresponding pH values:

  1. Sunny Delight – pH point of 2.4

  2. Capri Sun – pH point of 2.6

  3. Welch’s White Grape Juice – pH point of 2.8

  4. Juicy Juice – pH point of 3.5

  5. Gatorade – pH point of 2.9

  6. Hawaiian Punch – pH point of 2.8

  7. Hi-C – pH point of 2.7

  8. Pepsi – pH point of 2.4

To keep your kids healthy and their teeth strong, stick to safer pH level beverages. Water has a neutral rating of 7.0, which is great for children and adults. Milk is also a great option, with a pH point of 6.8 while unsweetened tea has a similar pH level. Want more oral health tips for kids and adults? Contact Kansas City, MO cosmetic dentist Dr. James R. Anderson, DDS.

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