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The Hard Facts about Soft Drinks

March 10, 2011

Filed under: Dental Health,Fun Facts — dr_shetty @ 12:23 pm

Gina, one of our hygienists, put together this blog. Check out the end chart, pretty amazing facts!

Soft drinks have become a popular choice for a growing number of people, especially kids, teens and young adults. Too often these drinks are replacing healthy choices such as milk and water in our daily diet. It’s not surprising since the soft drink companies have their products in our schools, stores, gas stations, movie theaters, and restaurants.

Today the standard size of a can of soda is 12 ounces and a bottle is typically 20 ounces. In the 1950’s a bottle of soda was 6.5 ounces. A “Big Cup” has more than five cans of soda in a single serving. Presently, teens drink three times more soda than twenty years ago. That’s a big increase for a drink that has no nutritional value and high calories derived mainly from sugar. And what about the “diet” sodas? Well, what these lack in sugar they make up for with acid. Either way, sugar and acid equals double trouble.

In addition to cavities, heavy soda consumption has been linked to diabetes and obesity. Acid in soft drinks, whether they contain sugar or not, is the primary cause of weakened tooth enamel. When you take a sip of soda, the acid attacks your teeth. Each acid attack lasts around twenty minutes. This happens again with every sip. These continuous acid attacks weaken the  tooth enamel. Once the enamel is weakened the bacteria in your mouth can cause a cavity.

Drinking soda in moderation will help reduce decay. Try to avoid sipping a soft drink for an extended period of time. Ongoing sipping prolongs the sugar and acid attacks on your teeth. After drinking soda, swish your mouth out with water to dilute the sugar. Never give a young child soda at bedtime. The liquid can pool in the mouth coating the teeth with sugar and acid all night. Always use fluoride toothpaste to protect your enamel.

Remember to visit your dentist regularly so she can examine your teeth and check for any signs of tooth decay. Your hygienist will clean your teeth to remove any bacteria or plaque and help you with your brushing and flossing technique. She may also recommend an in office fluoride treatment. As always, prevention is the key to a healthy mouth.

In case you still aren’t convinced to beat that soda habit, here are some interesting results comparing sugar and acid amounts found in some popular soft drinks, juices, and sports drinks. The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry did this study.

                                                         Acid                                                       Sugar
                                                       (low=bad)                                       per serving

Mountain Dew                           3.22                                                      11 tsp

Sprite                                             3.42                                                      9 tsp

Orange  Slice                                3.12                                                     11.9 tsp

Coke                                                 2.53                                                      9.3 tsp

Pepsi                                                 2.49                                                    9.8 tsp

Gatorade                                         2.95                                                     3.3 tsp

Nestea                                            3.04                                                      5   tsp

Diet Coke                                       3.39                                                      0

Diet Pepsi                                       3.05                                                     0

Dr. Pepper                                     2.92                                                      0

Hawaiian Punch                           2.82                                                    10.2 tsp

Battery Acid                                  1.00 (ouch)

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