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Soft Drink Product Warning

January 1st, 2015

From the desk of Dr. Fass

We are used to seeing the warning labels on all types of products cautioning that they may cause harm. Unfortunately, all products that are harmful do not have labels. A glaring example is soft drinks. Loaded with sugar (usually 6 or more teaspoons per 8 oz. serving) and often containing caffeine which supports their habitual use and acid levels that produce the demineralization and eventual softening of tooth structure, these drinks can cause real damage to teeth.
Tooth decay is a function of bacteria growing on the teeth (dental plaque) and sugar in the diet. The more frequently the bacteria have sugar, the more time they are active producing the acids that erode tooth enamel. Sipping soda, sports drinks, or any other drinks with sugar as a habitual, all day routine often leads to multiple areas of decay. These are often between teeth and can only be found in the early stages by dental x-rays. Additionally, the acid levels of the drinks will assist the bacterial acids in weakening the tooth enamel and exposed root surfaces.
The best treatment is prevention. These drinks should be consumed in short periods of time, preferably with a meal. Their damage is minimized this way. Thirsty between meals? Try the best thirst quencher known; WATER. Think you need sugar or an energy boost during the big game? A banana gives as big an energy boost as that sports drink, along with many of the same electrolytes.
Incidentally, did you think that diet drinks would solve the problem? They usually contain additional acids for flavor which will add to any enamel damage done by plaque. They could carry the same warning label.

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