Soft Drinks : Menace for your Teeth

As a Dentist, we can spot a soft-drink guzzler by the thin, matt, yellow-tinged surface of their front teeth. When we see these telltale signs in teenage clients, our first impulse is to ask: “How much soft drink do you consume?” The answer is usually two to three cans a day.

Soft-drink consumption has increased many folds, from about 47 liters a head annually to 113 liters.

Soft drinks contain a blend of sugar and acid that produces their trademark bite and tang. This sweet-and-sour cocktail might be gripping for the taste buds, but it is highly corrosive for teeth, especially children’s. Young tooth enamel is quite porous and more easily dissolved by acids than mature enamel.

It’s disturbing news, therefore, that a quarter of all two- to three-year-olds consumed soft drink. The amount increased with age to 45 per cent of 12- to 15-year-olds and 57 per cent of 16- to 18-year-olds.

“When children’s teeth are frequently exposed to acidic drinks, this dissolves the calcium in tooth enamel and over time can lead to a crumbling of the tooth structure” As well as tooth erosion, soft drinks contribute to tooth decay by supplying sugar to the plaque bacteria; about 10 teaspoons in each can. These micro-organisms metabolize sugar and produce acids that cause caries (decay).

It isn’t just the acid-sugar mix in drinks that poses a dental danger; soft drinks are being drunk instead of tap water and milk, potentially compromising children’s intake of protective nutrients such as calcium and fluoride.

This change in children’s exposure to risk and protective factors may account for some of the recent rise in dental caries observed in children.

There has been a steady increase in deciduous “baby” teeth with decay among primary school children & an increase in decay in children’s permanent teeth.

As well as soft drinks, there are sports drinks, which kmspicosoft   are formulated to enhance exercise performance but are drunk as a “nice tasting drink”. Consumers are lapping up these new alternatives. Sales of energy drinks have increased & most probably it is about 2-3 times more than the increase in soft-drink sales over the same period.

With brand names that exude youth appeal, it’s not surprising they’ve found their way into the diets of teenagers.

Is there such a thing as a healthier soft drink when it comes to teeth?

“Children and parents often perceive energy and sports drinks as healthier than soft drinks,” but with similar sugar and acid levels they offer no dental-health or nutritional advantage.

Some sports drinks have slightly lower sugar and acid contents – but their pattern of use exacerbates the damage. “The problem is kids tend to sip on them over time, rather than drink them all at once” This keeps the tooth enamel constantly exposed to acid.

When Soft drinks or Sports drinks are used to rehydrate a dry mouth, the risk of damage is even greater, since there is little saliva to help neutralize acid on the tooth’s surface.

Some drinks use sugars such as glucose and fructose, which were once thought to be safer for teeth than sucrose. However, all sugars have virtually the same potential for acid production in dental plaque as sucrose, according to a literature review of soft drinks and dental health published in the Journal of Dentistry.

Well aware of the bad health rapport on their products, soft-drink makers have launched alternatives. But diet soft drinks that are free from sugar are still acidic. “They don’t cause decay but they do cause tooth erosion”.

 

 

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