Rethink Your Drink: Sugary Drinks & Oral Health
Sugar-sweetened beverages have high levels of sugar and even drinking ONE per day, can significantly harm your teeth and cause irreversible damage. Beverages like sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices can contribute to tooth decay, tooth erosion and can lead to serious health issues.
Rethink Your Drink. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and Choose Water for a lifetime of healthy teeth and healthy gums
Cut the Sugar
All sugar, whether natural or processed, is a type of simple carbohydrate your body uses for energy and can be found in just about everything.
Some foods and beverages contain sugar naturally – like fruits, vegetables, and milk. The sugars in these foods provides your body with energy and maintains your blood glucose levels stable, while consuming beverages with added sugar contributes to empty calories and provides little nutritional value. Consuming too much added sugar can lead to potential health problems such as poor oral health, gum disease and tooth decay. Furthermore, sugar promotes tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth and produces acid. The acid attacks the tooth structure and enamel for at least 20 minutes after consuming a sugary drink, increasing your risk for potential dental health problems.
One way to know if a product contains added sugar is to look at the ingredient list in the nutrition facts label. Let the nutrition facts label be your guide and learn other names for sugar you might see on a label.
Added sugars include sugars that are added during the processing of food and beverages to increase flavor or as a preservative for a longer shelf life.
It is important to note that added sugars are listed by many diffrent names such as: sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, dextrose, molasses, raw sugar, invert sugar, glucose, corn sweetener, cane syrup and mamltodetrin. If any of these names appear in the ingredients list of your favorite beverage, you are drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage.
Make Small Changes to Reduce Oral Health Problems
- Substitute sugar-sweetened beverages with water, milk or 100% fruit juice.
- Rinse with water after drinking sugar-sweetened beverages to help remove the sugars from your mouth
- Use a straw
- Avoid frequent sipping, every time you take a sip, you re-expose your teeth to the to a 20-minute acid attack
- Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce cavities
- Learn how to calculate the amount of sugar in your favorite drink
How Do You Calculate the Amount of Sugar?
Grams of Sugar ÷ 4 = Teaspoons of Sugar
(Note: If the container has more than one serving, multiply the number of teaspoons by the number of servings to get the total teaspoons of sugar in the container. For example, 10 teaspoons x 2 servings = 20 total teaspoons.)
Healthy Beverage Alternatives: Fruit Infused Water Recipes
Give your water a citrus boost.
Let these water recipes take you on a tropical vacation.
Juicy fruit flavors make water extra sweet.
Try these tea-like infusions.