Soft drinks have emerged as one of the most significant dietary sources of tooth decay, affecting people of all ages. Sugar-free drinks, are less harmful.1 However, they are acidic and potentially can still cause problems. Larger serving sizes make the problem worse. From 6.5 ounces in the 1950s, the typical soft drink had grown to up to 20 ounces by the 1990s
Soft drink consumption in the United States has increased dramatically, especially among children and teenagers. The problem is so severe that health authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have begun sounding the alarm about the dangers.
How many school age children drink soft drinks? Estimates range from one in two to more than four in five consuming at least one soft drink a day. At least one in five kids consumes a minimum of four servings a day.2
Children and adolescents aren’t the only people at risk. Long-term consumption of soft drinks has a cumulative effect on tooth enamel. As people live longer, more will be likely to experience problems.
What to Do
Children, adolescents and adults can all benefit from reducing the number of soft drinks they consume, as well as from available oral care therapies. Here are some steps you can take:
- Substitute different drinks: Stock the refrigerator with beverages containing less sugar and acid such as water, milk and 100 percent fruit juice. Drink them yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
- Rinse with water: After consuming a soft drink, flush your mouth with water to remove vestiges of the drink that can prolong exposure of tooth enamel to acids.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse: Fluoride reduces cavities and strengthens tooth enamel, so brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash also can help. Over-the-counter mouthwash are available. Prescription strength fluoride toothpaste and oral rinses are available.
- Get professionally applied fluoride treatment: Your dental hygienist can apply fluoride varnish after your cleaning
Soft drinks are hard on your teeth. By reducing the amount you drink, practicing good oral hygiene, and seeking help from your dentist and hygienist, you can counteract their effect and enjoy better oral health.Copyright 2008 Colgate-Palmolive Company.
- Harnack L, Stang J, Story M. Soft drink consumption among US children and adolescents: Nutritional consequences. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 1999;99:436-444.
- Gleason P, Suitor C. Children’s diets in the mid 1990’s: Dietary intake and its relationship with school meal participation. Alexandria, VA: US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition and Evaluation;2001.
At Smile Envy, located in Grove City, OH, we are making sure you and your child’s dental needs are being cared for properly. When you visit we review all aspects of home care. It is important to discuss the frequency of consumption of sugary foods and drinks. As a general dental office, we are experienced in caring for mouths of all ages. Healthy habits take practice and as your dental team, located just 10 minutes from downtown Columbus, OH, we are dedicated to helping you and your little one’s take charge and prepare for a smile that will be healthy and strong for life!
Contact us today 614.801.0079 to experience friendly service, excellent results, and a beautiful smile.
-Your friends at Smile Envy, the Columbus dentistry experts