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How Sugary Drinks Cause Tooth Decay

Although sugary drinks may taste great, they also contribute to tooth decay and possibly even more serious oral health issues. Studies say that the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of sugar from soft drinks every year. At Greentree we want to continually encourage and promote healthy living, especially as it pertains to oral health. Sugary drinks have the potential to negatively impact your beautiful smile.

What qualifies as a Sugary Drink?

  • Sodas (including diet and sugar free sodas)
  • Fruit drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Iced teas
  • Coffee

How Much Sugar am I Consuming? 

  • 20 oz. bottle of Mountain Dew: 77 grams of sugar
  • 20 oz. bottle of Pepsi: 69 grams of sugar
  • 20 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola: 65 grams of sugar
  • 32 oz bottle of Gatorade and Powerade: 56 grams of sugar
  • 16 oz can of Monster Energy: 54 grams of sugar
  • 16 oz can of Red Bull: 52 grams of sugar
  • 23 oz can of Arizona Green Tea: 51 grams of sugar
  • 15.2 oz bottle of Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice: 49 grams of sugar
  • 16 oz Dunkin Donuts Iced Caramel Latte: 37 grams of sugar
  • 20 oz bottle of Lipton Lemon Iced Tea: 32 grams of sugar
  • 15.2 oz bottle of Naked Berry Blast: 29 grams of sugar
  • 16 oz bottle of Sunny Delight: 28 grams of sugar
  • Grande Starbucks Iced Flavored Latte with 2% milk: 28 grams of sugar

How Does Sugar Lead to Tooth Decay?

When drinking a soda or other sugary drink, the sugar in the drink combines with existing bacteria in the mouth to form acid. The acid formed, plus the extra acid in the soda, begins to attack the teeth. Each attack lasts for about 20 minutes and begins every time a sip is taken. The continuous attacks wear down and dissolve the outer surface of the tooth’s enamel, causing cavities to begin. The inner layers of the tooth become exposed resulting in heightened sensitivity. If tooth decay becomes serious, restorative dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, or implants may be required to repair the damage.

Tips to Minimize the Impact of Sugary Drinks

At Greentree, we recommend patients reduce their intake of sugary drinks and choose to drink water and other less sugary drinks instead. However, if sugary drinks must be consumed, consider these great tips to minimize the impact on your teeth:

  • Moderate intake
  • Drink it quickly
  • Do not drink before bed
  • Keep the drink cold
  • Use a straw to keep sugar away from teeth
  • Do not swish it around in your mouth
  • Finish your meal with milk, cheese, or chew sugar free gum to neutralize the acid
  • Drink fluoridated water
  • Rinse mouth out with water after consumption
  • Do not brush right away but wait about an hour for the enamel to reharden
  • Use a fluoride rinse
  • Schedule and attend regular dental exams

Preventing Tooth Decay

Sugary drinks are not good for your teeth and it would be best to avoid them all together. If that is not a real possibility, moderation is recommended. To help you avoid tooth decay and other long-term issues, consistent oral hygiene and attending your regular dental exams is the most important deterrent.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you. Call 614.459.5511 or request an appointment online to get started.