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Oral Health Buzz

What Are Sugar Drinks Doing to Your Teeth?

AM Hopkins

When it comes to keeping your family's teeth healthy, it's important to ensure they brush and floss, but it's just as important to be mindful of what they put in their mouth. There is a long list of foods and drinks that are bad for your teeth. In fact, they can actually hinder or reverse any good your dental routine is doing.

Sugar drinks, such as fruit juices and soft drinks, are definitely on this list. Although they are the go-to beverage for children everywhere, they are not the best choice. Drinking too much can cause a host of dental problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, dental cavities and even bad breath.

What Do Sugary Drinks Do to Teeth?

It's widely known that regular consumption of sugary beverages is not good for you, but even the occasional indulgence can have negative effects on your oral health. When you have one of these drinks, the sugar latches on to your teeth. Bacteria that are normally found inside your mouth eat away at the sugar these drinks leave behind. However, as the bacteria consumes the sugar, it begins to produce acid. Eventually, the acid begins to eat away some of the enamel on your teeth. This makes the teeth thinner and weaker. As the enamel weakens, the likelihood of developing cavities becomes greater. Sugary drinks are known as one of the most common dietary causes of tooth decay.

How Can I Avoid This Damage?

The best way to minimize the tooth decay that is caused by consuming sugar drinks is to avoid them whenever possible. Consider other, more healthy, options to quench your family's thirst, such as water or milk. Natural fruit juices are another way to provide a bit of sweetness in a healthy way. However, make sure you are purchasing real fruit juices with a juice content higher than 10 percent. Cut the fruit juice with seltzer water to further minimize the amount of sugar your family is consuming.

If you find that you just have to allow them to indulge, make sure they rinse with water to flush their mouth and remove any of the sugar that remains. It's also a good idea to purchase toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride. Fluoride helps to reduce cavities and strengthen tooth enamel, so it can help to reverse the damage caused by these drinks. Your dentist can also directly apply fluoride to your teeth, as well. Learn more about fluoride in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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