September 30, 2023
Everyone enjoys a sweet carbonated drink every once in a while, others a little more often, and our children are the first to want to take a sip. Carbonated drinks, while they are fun to drink because of the fizziness and the sweet taste, it could be doing a fair amount of damage to your child’s teeth. There have been many studies done to see the effects soda has on teeth. “A study published in the October 2001 issue of "the Journal of Dental Nutrition" linked soda to dental decay in adults older than age 25.”1 If soda is linked to tooth decay in adults, imagine what it is doing to our children’s teeth if they are drinking it every day.
So how exactly do soft drinks cause damage to teeth? Lets use coke for an example, let us consider the sugar, acid and the dye. Now, in the past we have learned about the dangers that sugar has on teeth, so here is a refresher. When consuming these sugary drinks, the bacteria that live in mouths break down the sugar, which produces acid, and if you remember this acid leads to tooth decay. Now if the consumption of sugar in these drinks creates acid, and there is already acid in the drinks, think about the damage this could be doing to your child’s teeth. The acid that is found in your favorite soft drink is phosphoric acid. This acid causes erosion on the entire tooth. What is erosion you ask? “Symptoms of dental erosion include temperature sensitivity, pain, transparency, cracking and darkening of teeth.”1 None of that sounds pleasant to me. And if that wasn’t enough, some soft drinks like coke, contain dye to give it color, and while this isn’t going to be harmful it will cause discoloration of the teeth. Another thing to be aware of is, soft drinks reduce calcium intake in the body, and we know how important calcium is for strong and healthy teeth, especially at a young age.
Since the 1950’s the serving size of soft drinks has increase drastically, from 6.5 ounces to 20 ounces in just 40 years. It is safe to say that in general we are consuming more and more, both adults and children. “At least one in five kids consumes a minimum of four servings a day.”3 That is a lot of servings for a child in one day. Most schools are working towards eliminating soft drinks from vending machines, making our homes the number one place where our children are getting soft drinks. Whether its having it available in our refrigerator, or going to a restaurant or getting fast food, we as parents should be aware of the damage that soft drinks could be doing to our child’s teeth. I know that most parents want their child to be healthy, and don’t want their child’s mouth filled with cavities.
Now, I’m not saying that a sip here and there is going to give your child a mouth full of cavities; we just need to be aware of the damage that soft drinks are capable of doing to teeth. There are much better alternatives, which I know that our children may not always want, but in the long run beverages like water and milk will be the best choice. If you are going to giver your child soft drinks or any other sugary drink, try and make sure it is sugar free, however those drinks will still contain the acid that cause damage.
If you are concerned about the health of your child’s teeth and what could be causing any decay, talk to your dentist and he will give you information on what you can do to prevent any decay of your child’s teeth. Also, see the links below for more information on how soft drinks effect your child’s smile.