Current guidelines from the World Health Organization, set in 2002, recommend that free sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake each day. And while the new draft guidelines offer the same recommendation, the WHO also suggest that reducing sugar intake to less than 5% of total energy intake each day – the equivalent to 6 teaspoons for an adult of normal body mass index (BMI) – would offer additional benefits.
Notably, the WHO is concerned about how the consumption of free sugars contributing to the prevalence of dental diseases. Recent figures show that worldwide, 60-90% of school children and almost 100% of adults have dental cavities.
In the US, consumption of sugary drinks is high. Data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that 50% of the population consumes sugary drinks on any given day, while 5% consume at least 567 kcal from sugary drinks on any given day – the equivalent to four cans of cola. Less than 5% of daily calorie intake from sugar would offer additional benefits to the consuming population.
While we can’t help you with your dietary intake, we can give you guidance concerning your oral health condition. Contact us in our Sandy Springs office for your complimentary consultation.
My preference is to have government stay out of my arena even if the Mayor might be right. Dentists can usually spot a soda drinker a mile away. These patients are often prone to dental cavities and white spots on their teeth known as decalcifications, which are actually the start of new cavities.
A cavity is an infection caused by a combination of carbohydrate-containing foods or beverages and bacteria that live in our mouths. Sweetened soda contains a high amount of sugar, a carbohydrate that can promote cavities. Sodas may be even more damaging to the teeth than other sugar containing beverages because they are acidic as well.
Before we drink a sugar-sweetened soda, the pH in our mouth is about 7.0, which is slightly more acidic than water. When the bacteria in our mouths are exposed to sugar, they metabolize it and produce acid. The acid causes the pH on the tooth surface to drop. At a pH of 5.2 or below, the acid begins to dissolve the hard enamel that forms the outer coating of our teeth. Over time this leads to erosion that causes cavities and painful toothaches.
Of all of the sodas tested, cola caused the most decalcification. Sweetened soda seems to damage teeth in two ways. The soda has a low PH and makes the mouth acidic, and the sugar content causes tooth decay when it comes into contact with bacteria in the mouth.
The easiest way to prevent cavities is by reducing the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods and beverages. If you can’t stop the consumption then consider brushing your teeth at least three times a day, especially after eating or drinking and before bed.
If you have to have sweetened soda, drink it through a straw in one sitting, to bypass the teeth altogether. If we can answer any of your questions or concerns please contact us.