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Nebraska Dental Health Division
Soft Drinks

Nutrition and Your Teeth

Soft drinks are no longer an occasional treat; they have become a daily habit for a growing number of people.  These increases in consumption of soda pop have become a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in kids, in fact one fifth of all one and two-year old children drink pop.  If we educate children and parents about nutrition and "sugar bugs" there is a strong possibility that the decay rate will decrease. 

Explanation of "sugar bugs" - "Sugar bugs" hide in some of the foods that we eat and drinks that we drink.  "Sugar bugs" grow strong when we eat a lot of sugar.  When bacterial in our mouth combine with the sugar in food and drinks, the result is acid (a super sugar bug); this acid dissolves the protective layer of our teeth called enamel.  A "cavity" or hole in the tooth results from this process and if you increase the number of times our teeth are exposed to acid, and the length of time acid is exposed to our teeth you increase the risk of cavities.

     Some Hard Facts about Soft Drinks:

  • A bottle of pop in the 1950's was 6.5 ounces.  Today a 12 oz. can is standard and a 20 oz. bottle is common.  Today teens drink three times more pop than 20 years ago.

  • A 64 oz. big cup has more than five cans of pop in a single serving.

  • There is no nutritional value in soft drinks.  One 12 oz. can contains the daily allowance of added sugar for most adults.

  • In addition to cavities, heavy pop consumption has been linked to diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. 

  • Even though diet pop doesn't contain sugar, it does contain acid, increasing the risk of cavities.

     Suggestions to Reduce Decay:

  1. Limit pop consumption to 1 can (12 oz.) per day and drink it quickly or with a meal or snack to limit the time acid is produced.

  2. Don't sip for extended periods of time.  Ongoing sipping prolongs sugar and acid attacks on your teeth.

  3. Use a straw to keep the sugar away from your teeth.

  4. NEVER drink a pop or juice before bedtime, without brushing after.   The liquid pools in your mouth and coats your tongue and teeth with sugar and acid.

  5. Fluoride, found in water, toothpaste and food helps to heal teeth and prevent cavities.

     Some Healthy Snacks:

  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Sugarless Gum, Popcorn, Nuts, Unsweetened Tea


Contact:

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Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Oral Health and Dentistry
(402) 471-0166

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Nebraska Hygienist Survey Information


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