It’s a hot summer day and your kids are begging and pleading for you to buy them sodas — but your dentist has taught you that water is a better thirst quencher and won’t damage their teeth in the process.
While dentists — and most parents — know that sugary soda is bad, many parents do not realize that soda, even diet, can do the same if not more damage than candy does if eaten consistently. One of the main dangers of candy is that sugar produces plaque which causes cavities. Hard and sticky candy stick around longer and therefore produce more plaque.
Like candy, soda has sugar, but it also has acid which erodes your enamel dissolving away the calcium in your teeth. Since soda is often the preferred drink during childhood, it can be addictive and harmful to a child’s long-term health. Avoiding sugary drinks has a number of health benefits.
Protecting Teeth from Sugary Drinks
has increased dramatically over the past 40 years and some kids get almost a third of their sugar and energy calories from soft drinks. In fact, according to many surveys, kids today drink twice as much soda as milk.
Why is soda so bad? Quite simply, its contents include high fructose corn syrup, additive dye, acid, and caffeine. An average can of soda has approximately 10-12 teaspoons of sugar.
But interestingly enough, it’s not the sugar that causes tooth decay; it’s the acid, which dissolves calcium out of the enamel, making it easy for bacteria to enter and destroy the tooth. In addition, sugar is converted to acid by the bacteria on the teeth, which makes the problem worse.
If a child has practiced poor dental hygiene along with drinking soda, the ramifications could be loss of teeth and other health complications as they get older.
Next time your child begs you for that soda, think twice before you give in so easily. The better choice is to reach for a glass of water or milk. The water will help in many healthful ways but most importantly — it won’t harm their teeth.
Milk, a Tooth’s Best Friend
According to the , milk offers a number of benefits for your teeth. First, it promotes saliva production. Your saliva is the body’s natural defense against tooth decay because it helps wash away food particles, neutralize acid, and remineralize your teeth.
Milk is known to be rich in calcium but it also is an excellent source of phosphorus. Both of these are important to strengthen your teeth. Milk also contains a protein named casein. This has a dual benefit in repairing cavities with the help of calcium & phosphorus, and
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To learn more about our Grand Rapids pediatric dentists and avoiding sugary drinks, please contact Mitten Kids Dentistry here or call us at 616.942.9840. Our dental professionals strive to be the very best at providing patients with optimal care while making them feel right at home here in Grand Rapids, MI.
This blog post has been updated.