Avoiding Sugary Drinks
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, is as bad as candy if eaten consistently. Even worse, because soda is often the preferred drink during childhood, it can be addicting and harmful to a child’s long-term health.
Soda consumption 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 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.
To learn more about the avoiding sugary drinks to improve your child’s dental health or to schedule an appointment, contact your Grand Rapids pediatric dentist Dr. Meggan Krause or call our office directly at 616.988.9485.