Sugary Drinks and Dental Health

A walk down the beverage aisle of your grocery store can be an eye-opening experience. There are drinks of every flavor imaginable labeled to attract children and adults of all ages. Some even use the claim that they are healthy, but read labels carefully. Daily consumption of acidic, sugary beverages can damage teeth.

Soda (yes, even diet soda) contains acids that contribute to the bacteria already living on your teeth. Many flavored beverages are loaded with sugar that have a similar effect. Bacteria on teeth form plaque. Hardened plaque can lead to dental decay or the onset of gum disease. The only way to remove hardened plaque from teeth is with a visit to the dentist. 

If you are going to drink, here are some tips to help limit the damage: 

Don’t sip all day – drink sugar-laden coffee or tea, soda, or juice with food. Use a straw when you can (cold drinks only) so much of the beverage can bypass teeth. Never swish or cold beverages in your mouth (except water). 

Find healthier options – Drink milk instead of juice or soda; dilute juice with water, or just drink water. Don’t like plain water? Try adding fresh fruit to give it some flavor or add a few drops of one of the many sugar-free flavorings to your water. Most tap water contains fluoride, an added benefit.  

Protect children from decay by only providing water in baby bottles or sippy cups that your child may take to bed. Your child’s teeth are vulnerable to decay as they are in the formative stages. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that since baby teeth are not permanent, you don’t have to worry about them. Baby teeth are designed to pave the way for permanent teeth. Early loss can impact the way permanent teeth erupt.

Brush and floss every day – supervise your child to make sure they are brushing and flossing; and that they are doing it correctly. An example is a great teacher; let them watch you.

Make sure you and your family visit our team at Southern Hills Dental every six months to have teeth cleaned, polished, and examined for potential problems.

Nathan Muaina

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