If you ask a family dentist the best ways to care for your toddler’s teeth, one of the tips you’ll frequently hear is to not give your child soda or juice, or only offer it occasionally. But what is so bad about these drinks? As it turns out, the combination of sugar and mild acid can actually add up to significant tooth damage.
Why Soda Is Bad for Teeth
The outer surface of a tooth is made of dental enamel, which is a hard, mineralized substance. Dental enamel is tough, but when it comes into contact with acid, it is weakened and can be eaten away or worn down. Carbonated drinks and many types of juice are acidic, so they weaken enamel.
Meanwhile, your mouth is also full of tiny bacteria that feed on sugar. When they eat and multiply, they secrete acid, softening and damaging your dental enamel further. Soda and juice are very high in sugar, which means they give your oral bacteria a lot of food all at once. The more often they are fed in this way, the more damage they do.
The Long-Term Effects
When enamel damaged by acid, the surface of a tooth becomes pitted and eventually noticeable cavities form, even with good oral hygiene. While this may not seem like a big problem in replaceable baby teeth, it’s not as innocuous as you might presume. Cavities in baby teeth can cause tooth pain your family dentist will have to treat, and they can also lead to infections and abscesses in your child’s mouth.
Plus, if baby teeth decay significantly enough to fall out prematurely, this may interfere with both eating and speech development, and can even affect the way adult teeth grow in later. If your child loses baby teeth early, your family dentist will need to put in a spacer to try to counteract these effects.
To avoid tooth decay and keep your child’s mouth healthy, limit their intake of sugary drinks including juice, and have them rinse their mouth after drinking. For more information on the effects of sugar and strategies to protect your child’s teeth, make an appointment with Bethel Family Dentistry in Ohio. Family dentist Dr. Minarchek and his team provide effective, modern treatment for the whole family and will help you feel at home in the dentist’s chair. You can reach them at (513) 734-2029.