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Burger King drops sugary drinks from kids menu – but don’t be fooled

March 20, 2015

Burger King has dropped sugary soft drinks from its kids menu in the US after similar moves from rivals McDonald’s and Wendy’s. It’s good news, but how good, and will Irish fast-food chains follow suit?

The restaurant giant – which has more than 13,000 outlets in 79 countries – has replaced fizzy drinks with 100 per cent apple juice, fat-free milk and one per cent fat chocolate milk.

These contain roughly the same amount of calories and sugar as Coca Cola but have a better nutritional profile, so fit into Burger King’s drive to offer heathier options.

They still pose a threat to young American teeth, however, while in Ireland, where we had the third highest jump in fast food consumption over the past 15 years, fizzy pop is still on the menu.

At Boyne Dental we recommend choosing water for your child wherever possible when you’re eating out because regular soft drinks, juices and chocolate milk put teeth under constant attack from acid.

This means they cannot repair themselves and will gradually begin to dissolve as the enamel covering the teeth – the hardest substance in the human body – is permanently lost. Lost enamel seriously reduces your child’s prospects for good oral health in adult life and means more pain and expensive trips to the dentist – which are completely avoidable.

You’ve probably heard there’s too much sugar in the drinks we give to our children, but here’s the precise amount in the most common beverages – it’s truly shocking and should help you think again! (figures based on Dental Health Foundation Ireland)

Fizzy   DrinksPer   500ml BottleCubes   of Sugar
       Lucozade86g17.5
       Club Orange65g12.5
       Fanta Orange62g12.5
       7up56g10
       Coca Cola53g10
       Pepsi53g10
       Sprite33g7.5
 
Cordials
        Ribena52.5g10
        MiWadi11.252.5
 

Juices and smoothies, though the healthier options, are also high in natural sugars. As you can see one 500ml bottle of Tropicana orange juice contains 10 cubes of sugar.

Smoothie  
       Innocent54.5g10
       Naked59.5g12.5
       Tesco48g10
 
Juices
         Tropicana50g10
         Sqeez45.5g10
         Innocent41g7.5
 

To give an idea of the impact these high sugar drinks have on children, this week it was revealed nearly half of eight-year-olds and a third of five-year-olds have signs of decay in their milk teeth in the UK. New figures for Ireland aren’t available but are likely to be similar.

Keeping teeth healthy for a lifetime means preventing tooth decay and erosion in our daily life, starting young.

So how do you prevent decay and erosion in your child’s teeth?

  • Don’t let sweets and sugary drinks be the norm – they’re fine as a weekly treat
  • Brush their teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste which contains fluoride
  • Take them to the dentist every six months for a check-up

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