Sugary drinks and your teeth

Having a glass of your favorite soda or pop with a meal or drinking one several times a day is routine for many Americans.  The truth is, however, sugary beverages are not good for you or your oral health.   

How it works
We all have bacteria in our mouths that eat the sugars we consume. These same bacteria (sugar bugs as I call them) gain energy from sugar and produce acid. The acid they produce damages your teeth and causes cavities.    

Skip the juice
And I have more news for you – If you think you’re safe with juice, think again! A glass of apple juice can often contain the same amount of sugar as a glass of soda.

Slow down on the sugar
According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp.  One glass of apple juice or one can of soda will easily put you at (or near) your daily sugar limit.

I encourage patients to try and eliminate sugary beverages from their diets, but understand that can often be a tall order for a busy adult.  Simply reducing the number of sugary beverages you consume and substituting healthier options that contain less sugar is a step in the right direction.

Here are a few popular choices and some better options to consider:

A few more tips

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the sugar bugs more time to eat the sugar and create cavities. Drink quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
  • Fluoride is your friend. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and continues to reduce cavities.
  • Brush and floss regularly. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day (floss!).  And help your children to brush and floss well too.  Leading by example or making a team activity out of it can be a way to make sure it’s getting done

Don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Jensen at Rogue River Family Dental – give us a call at 616-866-7720.