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Sugary Drinks & Our Teeth

While daily brushing and flossing and visits to your pediatric dentists at Bite Size Pediatric Dentistry are important for dental health, our diets also play a big role in protecting our teeth.

We all love a little candy, cookies, and cupcakes for a treat but we can’t forget about drinks like soda, chocolate milk and sports drinks when we are talking about sugar! While delicious, these drinks can have a large amount of sugar that our teeth don’t like. When our teeth come in contact with sugar, the bacteria found in our mouths snack on the sugar and produce acid. This acid is what breaks down our tooth structure, causing a cavity. 

So what can we do to protect our teeth? Completely eliminating sugar may be tough, but moderation is key! We want to limit the amount of sugary drinks we consume during the day and limit the amount of time the sugar sits on our teeth – this means keeping sugary drinks to meal time and not sipping throughout the day. Drinking through a straw works to reduce the amount that touches our teeth, but drinking water or rinsing with water after consuming a sugary drink can help to remove some of the remaining sugar from our teeth.

Tips to care for our teeth and enjoy sugary drinks:

  1. Limit to meal time or drink in one sitting. For our little ones, save milk or juice for meals to limit the exposure time. The longer the sugar sits on our teeth, the longer the bacteria has a chance to feed on the sugar and produce acid to increase the chance of cavity production. Sipping on water throughout the day is great for our teeth and body!
  2. Try to find alternatives – chocolate milk has almost double the sugar from regular milk, so swapping out chocolate milk with regular milk is a great option to reduce sugar. Sparkling water can be a great alternative for sodas.
  3. Brush and floss! Brushing 2x a day and flossing daily can help protect our teeth from the effects of sugar. Rinsing with water or drinking water after consumption of a sugary drink is a good option until it’s time for our night time brushing routine. 
  4. Visit your dentist regularly 🙂 Regular dental check-ups, cleanings & xrays are the best way to check for cavities and make sure brushing/flossing are being done properly to remove the sugar bugs!

Have more questions? Ask one of our Bite Size dentists at your next visit 🙂


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