Americans consume an inordinate amount of sugar, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages. These beverages, which include soft drinks, sport drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, and flavored milk, are the leading cause of obesity, type II diabetes, and tooth decay.
Sugar-sweetened beverages have no nutritional value but are inexpensive and widely advertised, particularly to children and teenagers. The primary cause of dental cavities is a diet high in sugar, and the primary source of sugar in children's diets is sugary drinks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for adults and 3 teaspoons per day for children. Consuming just ONE can of soda (which contains 9 teaspoons of sugar) will take an adult over the daily limit but will TRIPLE the recommended intake for children.
If soda is consumed, it should be done in moderation (no more than one 12 ounce can per day). Using a straw and rinsing the mouth with water are ways to minimize sugar exposure to the teeth when brushing and flossing are not possible.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are hard on the teeth. By reducing the amount consumed, practicing good oral hygiene, and seeking routine dental care, the effects of these beverages can be counteracted and lead to better oral health.