Soft Drinks and Your Health
When it’s a hot, stifling day in Bedford, what’s your go-to drink of choice?
Maybe a refreshing sweet tea? Or a crisp soda? Or perhaps you need a little extra and reach for a sports drink full of electrolytes?
Those sugary drinks are causing more harm to your oral health than you may think!
Did You Know?
Tooth decay due to sugar consumption can start with a child’s very first tooth. Dentists are seeing much higher rates of tooth decay in children due to increasing levels of sugar consumption.
By the numbers:
- 40% of children ages 2–11 have tooth decay to some degree in their primary teeth
- 30% of children ages 2–5 have tooth decay to some degree in their primary teeth
- 20% of children ages 5–11 have at least one untreated decaying tooth
Cut Back on Sugar
We recommend switching to water whenever possible. Americans consume a frightening amount of sugar. Toddlers consume an average of 12 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That comes out to about 40 pounds of sugar per year!
If that’s astonishing, today’s average teenager consumes 34 teaspoons of added sugar per day. For the record, it’s recommended to keep daily added sugar in the 3–6 teaspoon range. For reference, a single 12 ounce can of soda typically has around 9 to 12 teaspoons of added sugar.
Sugar-loaded drinks like soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks account for 60 percent of an average teenager’s daily calories from sugar. Whoa! Don’t carry a sugar habit like that into adulthood.
When you drink a soda (or other sugary drink) the beneficial bacteria that lives in your mouth eats that sugar. A byproduct of eating that sugar is acid. That means, when you drink a soda or sugary drink, your teeth are essentially “bathing” in this acid for up to 20 minutes after drinking! During that acid bath, the enamel layer of your teeth is slowly being dissolved, which can eventually result in a serious cavity.
Such vast quantities of sugar are a dental nightmare. Dr. White recommends restricting sweet drinks and snacks to mealtimes and brushing at least twice per day. Another helpful tip is to rinse your mouth with water after drinking or eating something sugary.
As far as tooth decay goes, the real threat is the frequency of sugar consumption. Sticking to water between meals is a big step toward protecting your teeth, as is minimizing the number of sugary drinks consumed on a daily basis.
If you think you may have a cavity due to sugary soft drinks, Dr. Marea White and her team are here to help. Give the office a call today to learn how they can help you take care of those cavities, as well as provide some tips to help reduce (or eliminate) your soda and sugary drink intake.