Although Americans love sweetened beverages, they can cause serious damage to your teeth and gums. Harmful bacteria in your mouth stems from sugars that you consume. As the bacteria grows from the sugar, acid also develops that can cause cavities and erosion.
While many drinks in the United States are marketed as all natural or healthy, they are in fact packed with sugar. This includes fruit juice. For instance, one glass of apple juice has a similar sugar content than a serving of soda. The USDA reported that an individual's sugar intake shouldn't make up more than 10% of his or her daily calorie intake. This means that most Americans can reach their daily sugar intake limit in a single glass of apple juice.
Although it is best to completely eliminate sugary drinks from your diet, cutting back on how much you consume can make a significant difference in your oral health. Here are some examples of drinks that are loaded with sugar and some healthier options:
- Too Much Sugar
- Flavored milk
- Fruit juices
- Fruit punch
- Gatorade and other energy drinks.
- Healthier Choices
- Unflavored sparkling water
- Juice that is diluted
- Unsweetened tea.
By choosing the healthier options, you are reducing the bacteria that can cause acid production and damage to your teeth. In addition, water typically contains fluoride that strengthen teeth, and milk is packed with vitamins and minerals that also strengthen teeth. If you have an allergy to cow's milk, then almond, soy, or rice milk (with calcium added) are suitable alternatives.
Tips on How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
When you must indulge in sweetened beverages, try using these tips to reduce the amount of bacteria that accumulates in your mouth:
Don't sip sugary beverages because it will give sugar more time to damage your teeth. If you drink quickly, it will wash away some of the bacteria. If you have children who love juice, only indulge them at meals and offer them water in between.
Fluoride is a key factor in keeping teeth strong. If your tap water contains fluoride, drink that instead of bottled water.
Maintain proper oral habits that include brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. If you have children under the age of eight years old, help them brush and floss.
It is also important to maintain routine dental cleanings and exams. A professional dental cleaning at Gage Dental Care serving East Los Angeles can effectively remove tartar that you won't be able to remove at home with regular brushing and flossing.
While children love sugary drinks, starting healthy habits early is the best way to ensure their teeth are strong and free of cavities. Moreover, if you set a positive example for your children by choosing drinks that are low in sugar, you are also protecting your teeth from acid development that can lead to cavities.