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Friday, April 9, 2021

Skip the Soda—Save the Teeth

Most parents understand that the combination of sugars and acids in sodas and other soft drinks are bad—really bad—for children’s teeth. Here’s why: In the mouth, soda causes a buildup of harmful acids that eat away at tooth enamel, making teeth far more prone to decay. While most parents understand the dangers of drinking an excessive amount of soda, several studies show just how dangerous drinking any soft drinks can be when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth. And don’t be fooled into thinking that sugar-free drinks are much better. They may not contain sugar, but they still bathe the teeth in acids that soften and break down enamel.

Of course, drinking soda causes more than tooth decay. It has also been linked to childhood and adult obesity, diabetes and other health issues. Yet despite its unhealthy side effects, soda consumption is on the rise in the United States. Studies estimate that between 50% and 80% of school-age children consume at least one soft drink each day, with 20% drinking at least four soft drinks daily. Serving sizes have also grown larger over the years, adding to the potential health risks posed by soft drinks.

An occasional glass of soda is fine, but if you are worried that your child may be overindulging, here are a few steps to take.

1.    Make sure that your child rinses with water after drinking any sugary beverage or acidic fruit juice.
2.    Be sure your child gets enough calcium to help keep teeth strong.
3.    Use fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses to help strengthen tooth enamel.
4.    Ask us about fluoride treatments; we provide them regularly for children, so be sure to inquire at your child’s next visit.
5.    See us regularly, and report any concerns about acid erosion so we can check for telltale signs that your child’s enamel has been compromised.
6.    Make sure your child gets two or more servings of dairy foods every day.
7.    Limit your child’s intake to four to six ounces of 100% fruit juice per day for children younger than 7 years old; eight to twelve ounces per day for older children.
8.    Limit your child’s consumption of soda and other sweet drinks to occasional use.

Similar to any other sugary snack, an occasional soda may be fine for your child. Just be sure it doesn’t become a regular habit, or your child’s teeth may wind up paying a heavy price for a little sweet indulgence.

We’d love to meet you and your family! Give us a call at 509-891-7070 to schedule today!

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