As a Coos Bay family dentist, Dr. Lori Lemire tries to provide all of her patients with the information they need to enjoy a healthy, great looking smile for a lifetime.
As patients probably already know, diets high in sugar present a risk to their oral health, especially when compared to more balanced diets that contain high amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Plaque, a sticky biofilm that clings to the surface of our teeth, uses the sugars we consume to produce acids that slowly breakdown tooth enamel. Over time, the damage caused by plaque attacks can lead to the development of cavities, gum disease, and even permanent tooth loss.
While adults need to moderate the amount of sugar they consume, eating a balanced diet is especially important for kids whose oral health has yet to fully developed. Even though limiting the amount of sugar kids consume may seem straightforward enough, too many parents are making a fundamental mistake that could end up jeopardizing their kids’ oral health by letting them drink too many soft drinks.
Soft drinks account for 20 percent of kids’ total beverage consumption, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As part of the report, researchers from the CDC examined the total drink consumption habits of U.S. kids between the ages of 2 to 19.
“Beverage choices can impact diet quality and total calorie intake,” wrote the research team. “Soft drinks accounted for 20% of total beverages consumed among youth. They include a wide variety of beverages, typically associated with increased intake of added sugar, thus adding extra calories without the benefit of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.”
A Troubling Trend in Kids’ Diets
Researchers from the CDC examined the total beverage consumption trends among kids between the ages of 2 to 19 using data collected as part of the National Health and Examination Survey. The team looked at the data collected between the years of 2013 to 2016. This survey is part of the CDC’s efforts to accurate determine the current health status of kids and adults living in the U.S.
Researchers asked the study participants what they had to drink in the last 24 hours. Water was listed as the most commonly consumed beverage among kids, followed by milk and soft drinks, a designation for both regular and diet soda, and fruit drinks that contain added sugar.
The types of beverages most frequently consumed by kids vary depending on their age and sex, researcher determined. Older kids were more likely to drink water and soft drinks, while younger kids were more likely to drink milk. Additionally, boys were more likely to consume soft drinks while girls drank more water.
Unfortunately, such high rates of soda consumption can significantly increase a child’s risk for a number of chronic health problems. Not only has sugar consumption been linked to an increased risk for cavities and gum disease, high sugar consumption also increases a child’s risk for diabetes and weight gain.
For parents to help better protect their kids’ long-term health, sugar consumption must start to come down.
Your Coos Bay Family Dentist is Here to Help Protect Your Child’s Oral Health
To prevent the type of dental decay and disease most closely linked to sugar consumption, it’s important that parents schedule regular exams and cleanings with Dr. Lemire. Frequent exams enable Dr. Lemire the chance to spot the early signs of tooth decay before a cavity has time to develop. When treated with fluoride and daily brushing and flossing, early tooth decay can be reversed and further damage prevented.
If you have any questions about the best dietary habits for your child, make sure to ask your Coos Bay family dentist, Dr. Lori Lemire, during your next visit.