News + Issues

Is Starbucks becoming too sweet?


Before stopping by your nearest Starbucks every morning or during your all-nighter for your favorite frapp, you might want to think about scheduling a dentist appointment. It’s understandable to need a pick-me-up every now and then, especially with a grueling dental school curriculum and exams. While you might think Starbucks is only degrading your wallet, it’s degrading your teeth at the same time.

Starbucks recently revealed six deliciously named flavors but forgot to emphasize the ridiculous amount of sugar packed into each cup. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that Starbucks’ syrup-drenched drinks aren’t the healthiest beverages out there. While it may sound tempting, the Cinnamon Roll frapp takes the unhealthy lead with a massive 102 grams of sugar, assuming you got the 24-ounce venti. This is the equivalent of downing a cup full of 30 sugar cubes, with whipped cream on top. The “healthiest” of the six frapps would be the Lemon Bar Crème with 71 grams of sugar. Every time you drink a Starbucks Frappuccino, you are coating your teeth with a cavity-causing layer of sugar.

Before you skip the coffee line, this doesn’t mean you have to stop going to Starbucks altogether. There are plenty of healthier alternatives to grab for your morning refreshment or your pick-me-up while pulling that all-nighter. For a refreshing morning beverage, the Grande Teavana Shaken Iced Passion Tango Tea is a great alternative, with only 80 calories and 20 grams of sugar. It can even be 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar if you get it unsweetened (but I understand if that’s asking for too much).

Furthermore, while most of you prefer your strong coffee as the perfect study buddy the night before a test, you should be mindful of the coffee stains that can form from routine coffee-drinking. Yellowing stains can be caused when the pigments from coffee drinks become fixed in the cracks and ridges of teeth. Unfortunately, this goes for any strongly colored food or drink, including the black teas offered at Starbucks, such as the Teavana Shaken Iced Black Tea. Staining is unavoidable unless you brush well to remove the pigments so be sure to brush extra well after those all-nighters to keep your teeth stain free!

If you’ve taken anything away from this article, it’s to be careful what beverages you drink on the daily. While that Starbucks Frappuccino might help you get through the morning, the root canal to come will be sure to fill you with regret. If you happen to be enjoying a Starbucks Frappuccino while reading this, put the cup down and drink a cup of water to wash down some of the sugar you just ingested, it’s for your own good.

~Dana Lababidi, predental

subscribe-to-winThe editors at Mouthing Off enjoy coffee just as much as you do! To prove it, we’re giving away $10 Starbucks gift cards to four lucky email subscribers. Leave a comment and tell us how you like your coffee or tea for an extra chance to win. Just promise you’ll brush often! Contest closes 9/18.

Dana Lababidi

Dana is currently a third-year Neuroscience major at The Ohio State University. She plans on graduating in the spring of 2017 and hopes to attend dental school the following fall. Dana is a first generation Syrian-American and hopes to give dental aid to Syrian refugees after dental school.

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  1. Rakesh says:

    I take my coffee cold brewed for low acidity and less staining capability. Hold the sugar and shake with ice.

  2. Allison says:

    I am not a big coffee drinker, but unsweetened Iced Passion Tango Tea is my favorite item to order at starbucks! I like my food on a sweeter side already, so I try to hold off on unnecessary addition of sugar in my daily beverages.

  3. I love coffee and tea with 1% milk and a few drops of stevia to reduce the sugar.

  4. Most frequent Starbucks order: freshly brewed Pikes coffee with half and half and no sugar. Gotta keep those Strep. mutans away!

  5. I like my coffee CHARGED WITH CAFFEINE. Just not before a procedure that requires steady hands… I’ve learned that the hard way.

  6. Drinking frapps is no problem, it’s just that most people forget to wash down their mouths with water after each frapp, and every other beverage that is consumed on a daily basis.

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