As your downtown Portland family dental care provider, our staff at City Dental wants all of our patients to know about potential risk kids face to their oral health on a daily basis. Patients who regularly read our downtown Portland dentist blog should know that sugar consumption ranks as the leading cause of tooth decay and cavities, while also helping to increase the risk of gum disease in both children and adults.
Soda consumption has long been considered one of the worst habits patients can have towards the long-term health of their teeth and gums. In fact, the rising consumption of acidic and sugary drinks has been linked as a key factor in the development and progression of tooth erosion in young kids and adolescent. Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Bergen has found that, in addition to the amount consumed daily, the way and when in which sodas are consumed also affects the progression of tooth decay.
Soda’s Impact On Oral Health
As part of the study, researchers examined the progression of tooth decay over a four-year period among a group of 175 study participants between the ages of 13 to 14. The prevalence of cavities, as well as plaque buildup, was determined for each participant through a clinical evaluation. Researchers also collected data on lifestyle factors that included T.V. watching habits, frequency of daily physical activity, method of soda consumption, as well as the frequency and types of certain types of dietary items. These items included cheese, snacks, popsicles, ice cream, chewing gum, candy, coffee, tea, yogurt, water, fresh fruits and acidic soft drinks.
Over the four years of the study, the progression of oral decay occurred in 35 percent of the over 2,500 tooth surfaces, and 32 percent of the tooth surfaces had deteriorated by at least one severity grade and 3 percent by two grades. Overall, girls showed less tooth erosion than boys.
Researchers determined several dietary factors that helped increase tooth decay, including the higher consumption of sugary drinks, as well as drinking soda between meals, while also drinking less milk. All of these risk factors have been previously identified in studies as risk factors for advanced enamel erosion. Additionally, the habits of holding soda in the mouth before swallowing also increased the progression of tooth decay in kids.
Tooth decay was found commonly among study participants, which indicates a risk of severe erosive damage to permanent teeth prior to adolescence, according to researchers. Based on the study’s findings, researchers recommended that parents and children should become better educated about the risks associated with soda drinking as the current rates of consumption place the long-term oral health of kids everywhere at risk.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when acids created by harmful oral bacteria dissolves the enamel that covers that surface of teeth. During early stages of decay, erosion strips away the outer layers of enamel, but as the disease progresses, it can eventually expose the softer inner tissue of teeth. In order to maintain the health of kids’ teeth and limit their exposure to decay, researchers recommend checking the ingredients of any beverage kids drink to determine the sugar and acid content.
As your downtown Portland family dental care provider, our staff at City Dental is happy to answer any questions parents may have about the safety of soda and its effects on their kids’ oral health.