If you’re a parent with kids that have child braces, you know the importance of helping them maintain a balanced diet. While too much sugar can present a problem to any child’s oral health, kids with braces face an especially high risk from excess sugar consumption. Food particles and bacteria can easily become trapped under brackets and wires, where they use the sugar kids consume to produce harmful substances that can damage tooth enamel and extend the duration of orthodontic treatment. Unless a child practices outstanding oral hygiene, diets high in sugar increase the risk of permanent damage occurring to their oral health in the form of tooth decay, gum disease, or enamel staining. Unfortunately for parents trying to help reduce the amount of sugar kids consume, soda habits in the U.S. continue to remain steady among kids and adults. Approximately 66 percent of kids and 50 percent of adult report drinking at least one sugary beverage a day, according to the results of 2 new reports. One report focused on kids between the ages of 2 to 19. It discovered that 63 percent of kids in the U.S. report consuming at least on sugary beverage a day between the years 2011 to 2014. The other report focused on U.S. adults. It discovered that 49 percent of adults said they consumed at least one sugar beverage a day during the same four-year time period. Both reports were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sugar Consumption Remains Steady

Previous studies have found evidence suggesting soda consumption is linked to health problems in both kids and adults that include dental cavities, type 2 diabetes, and increased weight gain. The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people reduce the amount of sugar in their diets to less than 10 percent of the today daily calorie intake. The findings of these latest studies show that for most people, drinking just one sugary beverage a day nearly puts them at the daily maximum suggested in the guidelines. For example, among kids, boys consumed, on average, 164 calories worth of sugary beverages a day, which contributed to 7.3 percent of their total daily recommended calorie intake. On average, girls consumed 121 calories from sugary beverages, or 7.2 percent of their total daily recommended calorie intake. Among adults, men consumed, on average, slightly more calories from sugary beverages when compared to boys: 179 calories, or 6.9 percent of the total daily recommended calorie intake. Women, however, consumed fewer calories from these types of beverages when compared to girls: 113 calories or 6.1 percent of their total daily recommended calorie intake. Researchers also discovered that among kids, sugary beverage intake increased with age. Teens drank more sugary beverages than kids between the ages of 2 to 5, as well as kids between the ages of 6 to 11. Researchers found the opposite in adults, as the intake of sugar beverages actually decreased with age, with intake reaching its highest point for those between the ages of 20 to 39.

The Dangers of Soda Consumption

In addition to the increased risk of tooth decay and weight gain mentioned earlier, soda also has the ability to corrode the health of our teeth. The mouth requires a balanced pH low in acidity. When we consume soda, the acid and carbonation in soda disrupt this delicate balance, causing our mouths to become too acidic. This increase in acidity weakens our tooth enamel much as putting a penny in a jar of battery acid would. Making matters worse, sugar consumption causes plaque and other harmful oral bacteria to produce substances that attack tooth enamel. When in a weakened state caused by drinking soda, the damage done by harmful oral bacteria only becomes worse. This type of damage can be especially problematic for kids that have child braces in SE Portland. At Senestraro Family Orthodontics, we recommend that kids dramatically reduce the amount of soda they consume while wearing braces to prevent lasting damage that could occur to the function and appearance of their smiles. Orthodontic treatments can have a lasting positive impact on a child’s oral health. But not practicing the fundamentals of good oral hygiene, such as reducing sugar consumption, can seriously undermine the success of this type of treatment.