In many countries, allowing a kid to drink coffee is a big NO. Besides making them hyper, there are other health effects from coffee and caffeinated drinks on children and teenagers.
Drinking coffee can lead to cavities in children from the acidity in it. Children’s teeth are much weaker than adults’. Therefore, the acidic coffee can easily weaken their teeth by damaging tooth enamel and thus, increase the risk of cavities. It takes years for the new enamel to harden after baby teeth have been lost and adult teeth have come in. Children who drink coffee are more likely than adults to have oral health issues, such as cavities and loss of enamel.
It is obvious that coffee makes children hyper. More than just being hyper, it can lead to restlessness and inability to concentrate. While adults can benefit from the stimulant in coffee that increases energy and alertness, it can be too much for children who need to stay in school and concentrate on their lessons. The effects of caffeine can last for hours – as long as an entire school day – and can have negative effects on the child’s relationships with friends, studying and grades.
From 5 to 12 of age, children need at least 11 hours of sleep. In their teenage years, they need about 10 hours of sleep per day. However, not many modern children can get enough sleep from the hectic schedule their parents have for them. This lead to a lack of sleep and they will turn to coffee to make up for the lack of energy from not sleeping enough. This cycle of not sleeping enough – drinking coffee is damaging to their biologic clock as coffee only make it harder to fall asleep. There’s also some evidence to suggest that if the child already has an anxiety disorder, the effects of caffeine make it worse.
The brains of a child tend to be a little bit more sensitive to caffeine’s effects than the brains of adults. Caffeine affects the central nervous system as a stimulant, and therefore it may change their appetite. Adolescents gain half of their adult weight in their teenage years. If caffeine curbs their appetite in some way it could affect their growth.
Headaches and high blood pressure
As we all know, coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that affects both adults and children. At low levels, caffeine can help increase alertness and focus. However, too much can cause jitteriness, nervousness, headaches, and increased blood pressure.
Caffeinated beverages often contain empty calories (calories that don’t provide any nutrients), and kids who fill up on them don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need from healthy sources, putting them at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
Moreover, coffee is a diuretic – it increases urine production. Increased urination causes the loss of calcium from the body, which can lead to bone loss. In addition to being a diuretic, it also contains large amounts of caffeine that leach calcium from the body. For every 100 mg of caffeine ingested, 6 mg of calcium are lost. For children, calcium is essential for bone growth.
How much coffee can children drink?
While there is no restriction, you should be careful when considering giving your children coffee for the mentioned health effects. Tolerance to caffeine widely varies from person to person. Most recommendations for adults are to keep caffeine to 200 to 300 mg per day to avoid experiencing negative side effects. And for developing children, it may be wise to stick to half of this amount to be safe.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: August 30, 2017 | Last Modified: August 30, 2017
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