Help Kids Enjoy Good Dental Health: Limit Sugar-Sweetened Drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages are tasty treats, but can they harm kids’ oral health?

According to the Kick the Can organization, in the United States sugary drinks are produced in 61 brands and represent annual sales of approximately $29 billion. These beverages are available in more than 664 varieties, including sodas, fruit drinks, smoothies, flavored waters and sports drinks.

On average, kids consume at least two to six soft drinks each week, according to a study produced in October 2011 by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Unfortunately, each time bacteria in the mouth come into contact with sugar and starch, acid is produced that attacks kids’ teeth for at least 20 minutes. And the bacteria that cause cavities thrive in sugar-sweetened drinks. Cavities are caused by tooth decay that destroys the tooth structures and can affect both the enamel and inner layer of the tooth.

Parents and caregivers can help kids enjoy healthy teeth and gums with these preventive measures:

  • Have kids brush their teeth at least twice a day, including before going to bed
  • Floss teeth daily
  • Schedule regular dental visits for teeth checkups and cleanings
  • Avoid offering snacks and sweet drinks in the evening after a child has brushed and flossed