HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of “Mountain Dew Mouth”? It’s what happens to our teeth when we drink too much soda. The term comes from rural Appalachia, where that particular drink has long been the carbonated beverage of choice and tooth decay is alarmingly common. But this doesn’t just happen in Appalachia, and Mountain Dew isn’t the only drink that contributes to tooth decay. Let’s learn what soda can do to your teeth.
When we eat or drink something with sugar in it, the sugar sticks to our teeth afterward. Sugar itself doesn’t do any damage to our oral health, but it is unfortunately the favorite food of the bacteria that lives in our mouths. These bacteria eat the sugar and then excrete acids that erode our tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. They also cause inflammation that increase the risk of gum disease.
Any source of sugar can negatively impact oral health. Sugary drinks (including fruit juice, but especially soda) are particularly dangerous because they aren’t filling like solid food and are therefore easy to keep drinking.
So if sugar is the problem, then can’t we keep our teeth healthy by switching to diet soda instead of giving up carbonated beverages altogether? Diet soda is certainly an improvement, but sugar isn’t soda’s only threat to dental health. The other is acid. Sugar leads to tooth decay because oral bacteria eat sugar and excrete acid that erode tooth enamel. Soda cuts out the middle man and applies acid directly to the teeth.
Even diet sodas and carbonated water contain acid. The three types of acid commonly found in soda are citric, phosphoric, and carbonic. Any drink with citrus flavoring will have citric acid, many colas get their flavor from phosphoric acid, and carbonic acid is what makes these drinks fizzy in the first place.
Watch this great video, “Will Soda Really Destroy My Teeth?”
It would be best for your teeth to avoid soda and other sugary drinks entirely. If you can’t bring yourself to give up your favorite drink completely though, there are a few ways to enjoy it while protecting your teeth. A big one would be to only drink soda with a meal instead of sipping from a can or bottle throughout the day so that the sugar and acid aren’t sitting in your mouth for long periods.
You can also help balance your mouth’s pH and rinse away remaining sugar by drinking water after the soda. Finally, you can clean away the last traces of sugar and acid by brushing your teeth, but it’s a good idea to wait until the pH balance is back to normal before brushing, which takes about thirty minutes.
It is particularly important for children and people with braces to avoid overindulging in sugary drinks. Children have the highest risk of enamel erosion because their enamel isn’t yet fully developed, and braces plus a soda habit is a great way to end up with stained teeth when the braces come off.
Following these good habits will go a long way towards protecting your teeth against decay and erosion from the sugar and acid in soda. Still, don’t forget that your dentist is also an important part of the equation. Keep scheduling those visits every six months!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Halloween is around the corner, which for most children means bags of free candy and a chance to build a stockpile of sweets for the winter. No surprise, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges. “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween but it’s important to have a plan,” says ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.
Here’s how you can help your family have a healthy Halloween and stay healthy year-round.
Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
Staying away from sweet snacks is another healthy Halloween tip. Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. ”Snacking on candy throughout the day is not ideal for your dental health or diet,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says.
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.
Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. “Have your family pick their favorites and donate the rest,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says.
World of Smiles will once again offer our “Candy Exchange.” Bring in your leftover candy in exchange for a toy!! The program runs from November 1 through 10, during office hours. Your donated candy will go to our troops through Operation Gratitude.
Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.
This includes soda, sports drinks and flavored waters. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.
Happy Healthy Halloween from all of us at World of Smiles!!
A version of this article was published by the American Dental Association, http://bit.ly/1vvq6tS
For more tips and strategies checkout; Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide.
Here at World of Smiles we understand the importance of our children’s overall health. A healthy smiles comes from a healthy body and mind. In the spirit of promoting a healthy, active, community focused lifestyle we have relaunched our Pinterest page, https://www.pinterest.com/pdxkidsdentist/. Here you will find boards pinned with ideas, inspiration, fun, crafts, and more:
Hungry for healthy seasonal/holiday snacks, check-out our Food-for-Thought board.
Looking for family fun events around the Portland-Vancouver area, we’ve got you covered, This is happening PDX!
Too soggy to head outside, stay indoors and be creative with our Activities and Crafts board.
The world is an amazing place, go explore its beauty on our World of Wonder board.
We hope you enjoy our Pinterest boards. Happy inspiration, exploring, learning.
Need to schedule or reschedule your child’s next dental appointment? We have 2 locations, West (West Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard) and North (East Portland, Vancouver, Milwaukie, Gresham).
Bad breath, medically known as halitosis, is a condition that even healthy children can suffer from. If you’ve noticed that your child’s is not so pleasant, there is hope, and likely an answer. When it comes to bad breath in children, most of the time improper oral hygiene is the culprit.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are many factors that could contribute to bad breath. Here are some of the most common causes in children:
How to Avoid Bad Breath
Healthy teeth are integral to a child’s overall health and well-being. You can help your child avoid bad breath by developing an oral care routine.
Chronic Bad Breath in Children
Most of the time, your child’s bad breath will go away once you implement better oral hygiene. However, some children may experience chronic bad breath. If a dentist determines that your child’s mouth is healthy, you may be referred to a primary care physician for additional tests to diagnose the underlying cause of the halitosis.
Regardless of the cause of bad breath, teaching children how to form good dental care habits at an early age can be vital in terms of their oral health as adults.
Are you ready for Halloween and the impending candy frenzy?!? With the start of the holidays and the sweet treats that tend to go along with the season, we offer these great tips for parents.
World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry will be hosting their candy exchange November 1st – 9th during regular business hours at 11790 SW Barnes Rd, Suite 280, Portland OR 97225. For more information, check out www.visitworldofsmiles.com/community or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitworldofsmiles!
Dr. Staci Whitman and Dr. Michelle Stafford worked for nearly two years to bring World Of Smiles to North Portland. They seek to partner with families to provide education and motivation for healthy dental habits. The practice strives for excellent patient care with a holistic, integrative approach while offering innovative treatment options. Both Docs enjoy teaching families and other healthcare professionals the importance of prevention and laying a foundation of healthy dental practices from a young age. They advocate for infant and child oral health, have had extensive experience with patients of special needs, and are Board Certified Pediatric Dentists. Learn more about who your family will partner with at your next visit!