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Rachel's Top Tips for a Healthy Mouth (The Effects of Sugary Drinks on Oral Health)

Rachel-Maxwell-Dental-Therapist

How safe are the drinks your children are consuming for their teeth?

Oral Health Advice By Rachel Maxwell (Dental Hygiene Therapist at York Place Dental) - 9th October 2017

On today's market there are an abundance of beverages available for your child to consume. As the latest oral health science research demonstrates time and again, unfortunately, many of these are packed with high levels of sugar, which can have a drastic impact on their oral health.In addition many of these drinks can be high in acid, which can also have detrimental effects.

Some of the top offenders are;

Carbonated drinks These can be packed full of sugar with some containing 10.6g of sugar per 100ml (Did you know? 35g of sugar amounts to about 7 teaspoons of sugar!!).In addition they are carbonated which means they can be highly acidic and can cause dental erosion of the tooth enamel (outer layer – protective layer of your tooth). Regular consumption of these drinks can cause the enamel to become eroded away making this layer thinner, which can cause a whole range of different dental problems, including increased sensitivity, poorer aesthetics, more prone to wear and fracture and more susceptible to dental decay.

Sports drinks (energy drinks) while these drinks can help replenish lost minerals, vitamins and boost energy levels during physical activity they can when consumed in excess or at inappropriate times (during non-active times) cause dental decay due to high sugar content and other health issues, including addiction to caffeine.With these types of drinks being readily available, children are increasing their consumption and we are finding an increased trend with drinking these drinks throughout the day on a regular basis.

Fruit juices now while pure fruit juices do have positive health benefits, including increasing daily vitamin uptake, these drinks if again are consumed at inappropriate times during the day or in excess can also lead to dental decay and acid dental erosion.Many fruit juice drinks, can contain as much sugar as many of the soft drinks that are on the market, so while you believe it is a healthier option, this may not be the case.

So what can we do to ensure no dental problems arise?

  • Always encourage your child to drink water and milk as much as possible!
  • It is always best to try drink natural fruit juices/carbonated drinks at meal times only and encourage your child to drink water for in between meals.
  • Limit consumption of all sugary/acidic drinks and only have as a treat, on occasion.
  • If under taking physical activity encourage your child to drink water during and if necessary only allow sports drinks as a treat not on a daily basis.
  • Try and ensure that all sugar/acidic drinks are consumed fairly quickly and that the child is not sipping for long durations of time during the day.
  • If using natural fruit juice, try to dilute this with water, say 1 part juice to 10 parts water.

TOP TIP: Use a straw when consuming sugary/acidic drinks – this can help direct the drink to the back of the mouth and will minimise contact with the teeth, which can help with reducing dental decay and erosion issues.

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