There are now many people in Orem Utah who regularly consume sugary drinks. However, the truth is that these beverages are bad for our bodies and our teeth. We all have bad bacteria in our mouths that thrive on the sugars we eat. Sugar provides the bacteria with a source of energy, but in exchange, they create acid. The acid they produce can be harmful to teeth, leading to decay or erosion.
Many popular American drinks, including those marketed as “healthy” or “all-natural,” contain excessive amounts of sugar. Drinks like juice may seem harmless, but they actually can cause serious health problems. Many fruit juices, including apple juice, can have as much sugar as a soda. There should be no more than 10% of your daily calories coming from sugar, as suggested by the USDA. Daily doses of 10-15 teaspoons are recommended for females and men should consume 12.5-18.75 teaspoons. There are plenty of people whose daily calorie intake can be met by drinking just one glass of that apple juice.
Though it would be ideal to eliminate sugary drinks entirely from our diets, even cutting back and replacing them with healthier ones that contain less sugar is beneficial. Below is a comparison between sugary beverages and healthier alternatives.
|Lots of Sugar||Better Option|
|Energy drinks||Unsweetened tea|
|Smoothies||Plain sparkling water|
|Fruit punch or juice||Diluted juice|
Every beverage listed under “Better Option” is low- or no sugar. This means that the bacteria in your mouth won’t have a chance to cause problems and damage your teeth by producing acid. Fluoride, which can be found in water, helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Calcium in milk is another way it helps maintain healthy teeth. Try an unsweetened milk substitute (almond, soy, or rice) that also has calcium if you or your children have a cow’s milk allergy.
Even if you can’t give up your morning cup of sugary coffee, tea, or juice, you can still take steps to minimize the damage done to your teeth. Listed below are some recommendations that you may find helpful.
Drink, don’t sip:
The longer you sip, the more time the bacteria have to digest the sugar and form cavities. Be sure to hydrate quickly so that your body can flush out the bacteria. If you like sweetened coffees, teas, or sodas, it’s best to consume them all at once instead of sipping slowly throughout the day. Give your child juice only with meals and only water in a plastic bottle they might carry around during the day.
There’s no need to be afraid of fluoride:
If the water in your area has been treated with fluoride, drinking it can improve dental health. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and has contributed to a general decline in the prevalence of cavities across the country.
Be sure to clear and brush your teeth:
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day. Consult a dentist for advice on how to do this properly. Those of you with children younger than eight years old, please encourage them to maintain good dental hygiene habits and schedule frequent dental checkups.
It’s a smart first step to be aware of which beverages contain sugar and why drinking them can be harmful to your teeth. Make it a priority for your family to include these suggestions into your daily routine. Encourage your children to make wise beverage choices from an early age. Just by being the best you can be, you can help everyone around you live longer and happier.