Bubble tea shops are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. However, as the Taiwanese trend spreads, criticism has grown. German dentists have now once again strongly cautioned that the consumption of sweetened drinks can lead to an increased risk of caries.

While the drink is called “tea” and has a tea base, it also contains milk, sugar syrup and artificial flavours. A cup of the beverage contains up to 500 calories and 20 to 30 cubes of sugar. Extremely sweet flavours with milk have an even higher sugar content than Coke.

Especially for children, the high number of calories and high amount of sugar is dangerous and can lead to tooth decay and obesity. “Because of the fresh fruits on the billboards and the label ‘tea’, many parents think the coloured sugar drinks are a harmless or even healthy way to get children to drink more. The caries risk and the many calories are simply overlooked. It has to be stated quite clearly that bubble tea is a heavily sweetened soft drink and not a sugar-free and therefore pro-dental health drink,” Dr Antje Köster-Schmidt, board member of the dental association of the state of Hessen, commented.

Other German institutions have also cautioned against uninformed consumption of bubble tea. The Alliance’90/The Greens political party recently submitted 35 questions regarding the drink to the federal government, requesting an investigation into health concerns mainly.

The German consumer protection authority, a large German insurance company and the Professional Association of Paediatricians have also raised the alarm. “The popular drink is dangerous for young children. Sucking the peanut-sized balls through a straw requires significant suction. If the balls enter the lungs via the trachea, this could lead to pneumonia or lung collapse,” the association’s president, Dr Wolfram Hartmann, told the German news website Spiegel Online. As reported by the magazine, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment does not officially consider the tea a health risk but warns that there is a risk of inhaling foreign objects into the lungs, particularly for children younger than four.

A test recently carried out by the German consumer organisation Stiftung Warentest found that the majority of the teas contain tartrazine (E102) and Allura Red AC (E129), which, according to the organisation, are thought to cause hyperactivity and attention deficits in children.

Original Source: The Dental Tribune

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