Sugar and Acidity in Your Children’s Drinks Can Lead to Cavities
We are all aware that know that candy, desserts, and other sweets have tons of sugar in them, but sometime we may not consider how beverages are laden with excess sugar. Notably, sugary drinks are often the primary source of added sugars in our kids’ diets. Beverages like soda, sports drinks, fitness waters, and even fruit juice have loads of sugar in them.
How Sugar Affects Teeth
Sugar converts to acid just about immediately! In only a short time, sugar from food and drink on your child’s teeth will turn into acid and begin attacking their tooth enamel. Over time, acid can eat away at the tooth’s protective enamel barrier and cause cavities and decay.
Keep in mind that sugary drinks can negatively impact your child’s health in numerous ways. In addition to cavities, overconsumption is associated with weight gain and childhood obesity. Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol in children can also come from consuming sweet drinks.
How Acidity Affects Teeth
In addition to excess sugar, many beverages also have quite a bit of acidity in them. Acidity can damage the tooth enamel, which is the protective coating on the tooth that fends off bacteria and helps prevent tooth decay.
Importantly, kids and teens are often more susceptible to tooth decay because their enamel is not fully developed and is less resistant to attack by acidic foods and beverages.
Diet sodas don’t have harmful sugars like regular sodas, but they are still extremely high in acid.
Beverages like lemonade, sports drinks, orange juice, and regular soda also contain a high level of acidity that can damage precious enamel.
How Does High Fructose Corn Syrup Affect Teeth?
High fructose corn syrup (HCFS) is made from corn that has been refined into syrup. It is often used in foods and beverages instead of sugar. Because it is cheaper and sweeter than sugar from sugar beets or sugar cane, you can find it as the primary sweetener in many processed foods, snacks, and beverages.
But don’t be fooled—just because it comes from corn, that does not mean it is good for your kids or their teeth! HFCS has a slightly different effect than sugar. Its extreme sweetness causes more intense blood sugar spikes in the body. So, the body tends to continually pull minerals from your teeth and bones to restore its balance. Teeth with reduced mineral content are more prone to tooth decay.
As you can see, there are a lot of threats to your kids’ teeth from the foods that eat and the beverages they drink. Water and milk may be better drink options for children and teens. To add a little flavor, try stirring in a tiny bit of sugar-free drink mix. Or, try some seltzer water. It comes in flavors as well.
A family dentist Cary, NC offers will recommend that you and your children reduce or avoid sugary beverages altogether. If you have any questions about either your child’s diet or your own and how it affects the teeth, request an appointment, and your dentist will be happy to help!
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Alliance Dentistry for their insight into dentistry and how children’s drinks can affect their teeth.