Sugary soft drinks can be irresistible to some kids (and parents too), but they can cause big problems for your smile.
Soft drink isn’t just another word for soda. Other beverages fall under the soft drink category as well, including sports drinks, iced/sweet teas and even fruit juices. Even sugar-free drinks aren’t the best for our oral health because they are also acidic, which can cause problems.
Children and teens are drinking soda more than ever before. It is estimated that one of every two school age children consume at least one soft drink a day. Some teens have even been recorded having as many as 12 soft drinks every day!
So what exactly can a soft drink do to our mouths?
The sugar, acid, and preservatives in soda can cause erosion of tooth enamel. Acids will also lower the pH of your saliva, which then allows bacteria to multiply faster than normal – ew! Those bacteria can reach the inner layers of our teeth more easily, causing cavities.
Damage to enamel doesn’t just cause cavities. Your teeth will also no longer look white and they could become translucent around the edges or more yellow. Some people may even experience pain, especially when chewing or drinking hot or cold liquids.
So, it’s best to kick that soda-drinking-habit to the curb while your child is still young!
Kids, teens, and even adults will benefit from drinking less soda. Here are tips on how to cut down on everyone’s bubbly habit:
- Try something different: Stop buying soda and other soft drinks and instead start stocking your fridge with water, milk, and 100% fruit juice.
- Set a precedent: Parents, if you’re a soda-drinker, take the lead on cutting back on soft drink consumption in the house.
- Rinse with water: If you decide to still have soft drinks on occasion, remember to have your kids flush their mouths with water to get rid of any leftover sugar in their mouth. This will cut back on the attack against your enamel.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse: Fluoride reduces cavities and strengthens tooth enamel, so brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.
- Visit us regularly: We’re here to help! Be sure your kids are coming in for cleanings twice a year. We’ll also be happy to answer any questions or concerns.
An added bonus to cutting back on soft drinks and reaching for your water bottle instead: HYDRATION! Soft drinks with sugar and caffeine are actually known to speed up dehydration, which can also cause that afternoon slump. So instead of coffee or soda, drink water to get your mid-afternoon energy boost.