Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Sugary Drinks Should be Avoided

It is estimated that on average, Americans down 45 gallons of soft drinks per year. For many, sodas are the "go to" beverages of choice, and are often mindlessly served at mealtime. In addition to being the #1 cause of the nation's obesity epidemic, sugary drinks wreak havoc with the teeth.

The two main culprits contained in carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks that spell only bad news for our teeth are their high volumes of sugars and acids. Some sodas come with 11 teaspoons of sugar packed into just one 12-ounce serving. The larger 20-ounce bottles can contain close to 20 teaspoons of sugar! Consider individuals who routinely consume 2 to 3 sugary drinks a day-and then reflect on the American Heart Association's guidelines for daily sugar intake:

        "For women it is no more than 5 teaspoons a day and for men, no more than 9 teaspoons a day. Each teaspoon of sugar contains 4 grams of sugar. According to the AHA, kids should have no more than 3 teaspoons of sugar a day."

Please do not think that sugar-free choices or artificially sweetened beverages are an alternative. In addition to numerous questionable, artificial and unpronounceable ingredients, they are also filled with acids. The added acids and sugars in these drinks mix together with your mouth's naturally occurring acids and the combination is too much for your teeth to handle. The sugar-laden acids destroy the tooth enamel and over time cause decay and pitting of the teeth.

Sports drinks, iced tea, lemonade, and fitness water are no better! Along with significant amounts of sugar, they also contain additives and organic acids that are extremely erosive to the teeth and gums. Recent studies have revealed that non-carbonated drinks and sports drinks are 5 to 10 times more likely than soft drinks to cause enamel damage and cavities.

The bottom line is to avoid such beverages all together. If that is impossible for you, limit your consumption to no more than a 12-ounce serving and brush and use a dental rinse immediately afterwards. The best choice for improving and maintaining your overall health is to make water your #1 beverage choice!

For more information, visit Rethink Your Drink from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you have concerns about your dental health or nutrition habits that may be affecting your teeth, please call our office in Raleigh for a consultation: 919-782-0548

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