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Soft Drinks: Not So Soft On Your Teeth

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Facts: What do we know about soft drinks?

  • A typical 12-ounce can of regular soda contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Sugar-free drinks, which account for only 14% of all soft drink consumption in the US, are less harmful. However, they are acidic and can still cause problems.
  • The phosphorus content of soft drinks may reduce calcium absorption and contribute to osteoporosis.
  • People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.
  • A 22-year study of 80,000 women found that those who consumed a can a day of sugary drink had a 75% higher risk of gout than women who rarely had such drinks.
  • People who drink sugared drinks do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food and do not compensate by eating less.
  • A 20-year study on 120,000 men and women found that people who increased their sugary drink consumption by one 12-ounce serving per day gained more weight over time—on average, an extra pound every 4 years—than people who did not change their intake.
  • A study that followed 40,000 men for 20 years found that those who averaged a daily can of a sugary beverage had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than men who rarely consumed sugary drinks.

What can we do about it?

  • Do not stock your pantries and refrigerators with sugared drinks. Keep beverages with less sugar like water, milk and 100% fruit juice. Encourage a ‘drink healthy’ attitude among your kids.
  • Make sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth with water to remove traces of sugared fluids that can later expose your tooth enamel to acids.
  • Don’t brush too soon after consumption of soft drinks. Wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
  • If you must, drink soft drinks only at meal time. Finish meals with something to neutralize acids like milk, cheese or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Use fluoride toothpastes. Fluoride reduces cavities and strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Those who have cavities & gum diseases can ask their dentists if they require over-the-counter mouthwashes or fluoride treatments.

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