Sugary Drinks are Ruining Children’s Teeth

A child drinking cola soda from a glass

Sugary sodas, flavored carbonated drinks, sports, and energy drinks are bad for your child’s teeth due to their high sugar content. These sugary drinks contribute to the development of tooth decay and cavities in children and can cause permanent damage if left untreated. Read on to find out how sugary drinks are ruining children’s teeth.

How Sugary Drinks Cause Cavities

A picture containing child, dentist inspecting teeth, cavities

Sugar by itself does not cause cavities. The problem is that bacteria in the mouth eat the sugar and turn it into energy. As the bacteria eat, they release acids that slowly dissolve tooth enamel, increasing a child’s risk for cavities. Additionally, sugary drinks can stick to the surfaces of teeth, leading to an even more significant buildup of acid.

According to the State of Childhood Obesity, sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugars in children’s diets across all age groups.

Charts showing percent of added sugar in children's diets that comes from sugary drinks.


Soft drinks and Sports Drinks are Highly Acidic.

Both regular and diet soft drinks contain acidic ingredients. Sports and energy drinks are also very acidic. The acid in these drinks attacks enamel and dissolves it away. Below is a chart showing the PH of various beverages. The lower the number is, the more acidic the drink is. According to the National Library of Medicine, a beverage with a pH less than 4.0 potentially damages the teeth. Note: the list includes battery acid at the bottom of the chart to compare acid levels.

a chart showing the PH of various beverages

Learn About Alternative Drinks for Kids

If you find keeping your child from consuming soft drinks and other sugar-containing beverages challenging, consider choosing alternative drinks. You can add combinations of fresh fruits, herbs, or cucumbers to plain or carbonated water to make it tastier.

Plain carbonated water is fine. But some sugar-free carbonated waters contain sodium, natural and artificial acids, flavors, sweeteners, and other additives. Read the ingredient list and look for additives like sodium and sugar to avoid negative consequences for your child’s teeth.

Furthermore, teaching your children about the impact of sugars on the teeth will help them better understand the consequences of drinking sugary beverages.

Establish Good Oral Hygiene Habits at Home.

Good oral hygiene habits can help to protect children’s teeth from the damage caused by sugary drinks. Encourage your children to brush twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and floss at least once daily.

Visit the Dentist Regularly for Check-Ups and Cleanings.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends children and adults visit their dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. During your child’s visit to Orem Dental, we can detect any signs of tooth decay caused by high sugar levels in the mouth. We can advise you on how to best protect your child’s teeth against cavities and other problems caused by consuming sugary drinks or junk food. Regular visits help catch problems early and save your family money on costly dental treatments down the road.
Call us today to schedule your child’s next appointment.

Your Friendly Team at
Orem Pediatric

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