Sugary Drinks and The Effects On Your Smile

Sugary Drinks and The Effects On Your Smile

Sugary drinks are harmful to your smile, this blog explains what sugary drinks to avoid and why. Tips on how to minimize the impact of sugar on your teeth.

Sugar effects on your oral health

Sweetened beverages have become a treat that many Canadians have every day. The truth is that these drinks are not healthy, especially for our dental health and smiles.

Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths that eat the sugars we consume. The bacteria feed on energy from the sugar, but in the process it produces acid. The acid sugar can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur.

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Harmful Bacteria

Some of the most common beverages that Canadians drink actually have loads of sugar, even drinks that are marketed as “healthy” or “all natural”. If you think you’re safe with drinks like juice, think again! A glass of apple juice can contain a similar amount of sugar as a glass of soda. According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10% of your daily calories. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp. Just one glass of that apple juice would put many people at (or just under) their entire daily limit.

Eliminating sugary beverages from our diets would be best, but reducing the number of sugary beverages you consume and substituting healthier options with less sugar is already a step in the right direction. Here is a list of drinks that are full of sugar and drinks that are better choices.

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Drinks full of sugar

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Better drink choices

All of the drinks in the "better choice" column have little or no sugar. That means they won’t give the bacteria in your mouth a chance to cause trouble and create acid that can damage your teeth. Water can also contain fluoride, which protects teeth against cavities. The calcium in milk also helps keep your teeth strong. If you or your children are allergic to cow’s milk, try an unsweetened milk substitute (such as almond, soy, rice) with added calcium.

If you find you can’t resist your morning cup of sweetened coffee, tea, or juice, there still are some things you can do to help protect your teeth. Here are some suggestions to consider.

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the bacteria more time to eat the sugar and to create cavities. 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, and in Burlington water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and has reduced the number of cavities across the nation. If you would like to learn more about water fluoridation, click on this link.
  • Brush and clean between your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day. Help all kids under the age of eight to brush and floss well, and be sure to visit your dentist regularly.

We have an article to help you introduce your child to proper teeth brushing and flossing techniques. Learn here and try those tricks.

Knowing what drinks contain sugar and that sugar-sweetened drinks can hurt your dental health is a good start. Set some goals for your family to follow these tips. Good habits begin at a young age, so help your kids make healthy decisions about what they choose to drink. Set a positive example, and you will all have healthier smiles and a healthier future.

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Children should drink more water

Make sure to visit your dentist regularly and if you are looking for a new dentist, stop by Lakefront Family Dental for your comprehensive dental check-up or call us to book your next dentist appointment.

To read more on our blog, including this full article click here.