As our patients at Tigard Family Dental know, drinking soda can present a serious risk to your long-term oral and overall health. Sugar plays an important role in the development of tooth decay and cavities which, when left untreated, can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Not only does consuming sugar impact your oral health, studies have found that heavy sugar consumption can also increase your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and pancreatic cancer.
For many Americans, the most common culprit when it comes to sugar consumption is drinking soda. Just one can of regular soda contains three times the daily recommended dose of sugar, according to the World Health Organization. Even diet sodas present problems, as the artificial sweeteners used to replace sugar can increase the risk of a variety of oral problems.
Considering the health risks associated with soda consumption, it’s little surprise that government agencies have started to take a stand against soda by warning the public of the dangers people face by drinking these sweetened beverages.
Just recently, a U.S. district court in California rejected efforts to stop a law in San Francisco that would require health warnings be placed on ads for soda and sugary beverages. The landmark legislation would require that warning labels cover at least 20 percent of ads. The ads must also caution consumers of the increased risk of tooth decay, diabetes, and obesity they face by drinking soda.
As part of his decision, the presiding judge in the case noted extensive research that shows sugar-sweetened beverages are a “significant source of calories” that contribute to the development of serious health problems.
“The warning that drinking sugar sweetened beverages ‘contributes’ to tooth decay is likely factual and accurate,” stated U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen. “The city has a legitimate interest in public health and safety, and the warning that [sweetened beverages] contribute to tooth decay is reasonable related to the city’s interest in public health and safety.”
The new warning labels will soon read: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
Cutting Back on Sugar Consumption
While drinking soda is an obvious source of increased sugar consumption, the average daily diet also has many hidden sources of artificial sugars. Whether from drinking fruit juice, having a donut or pastry for breakfast, or enjoying a double whip caramel latte, it’s easy to consume more sugar than you might realize.
Limiting sugar intake starts by making small but impactful changes to your daily diet. Start by adding more fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to what you eat. Not only do these types of foods have low sugar content, they also help to prevent decay that causes cavities by increasing saliva flow during meals and by scrubbing the surface of your teeth as you chew.
If you want to know the best habits for successfully cutting sugar out of your diet, feel free to ask any member of our team at Tigard Family Dental during your next appointment.