As a dentist for kids in Eugene, Dr. Feldmanis wants to help educate parents on the best practices for protecting their child’s long-term oral health.
As most of Dr. Feldmanis patients already know, diets high in sugar put our oral health at risk, especially when compared to more balanced diets that feature a mixture of fresh fruits, veggies, and lean protein. The reason why sugar presents such a major problem to our oral health is plaque, a sticky biofilm that clings to the surface of our teeth. Plaque uses the sugars we consume to produce harmful substances that slowly breakdown tooth enamel. Over time, the damage caused by plaque can lead to the development of tooth decay, gingivitis, and permanent tooth loss.
While it’s important for adults to moderate the amount of sugar they consume, eating low-sugar diets is especially important for young children as their oral health continues to develop. Most parents try to limit the amount of sugar their kids consume, but that becomes problematic unless they take special care to limit the amount of soda their kids drink.
Soft drinks such as soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices comprise about 20 percent of kid’s total beverage consumption, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As part of this study, researchers from the CDC examined the drinking habits of U.S. kids between the ages of 2 to 19.
“Beverage choices can impact diet quality and total calorie intake,” wrote the research team. “Soft drinks accounted for 20% of total beverages consumed among youth. They include a wide variety of beverages, typically associated with increased intake of added sugar, thus adding extra calories without the benefit of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.”
Trending in the Wrong Direction
As part of the National Health and Examination Survey, researchers from the CDC examined the data collected on the total beverage consumption trends among kid between the ages of 2 to 19. Researchers looked at the data collected between 2013 and 2016. The NHE Survey is part of the CDC’s efforts to accurately determine the current health status of kids and adults in the U.S.
In the study, researchers asked participants to list everything they had drank in the last 24 hours. Water ranked as the most commonly consumed beverage among kids, followed by milk, soft drinks, a designation for both regular and diet soda, and fruit drinks that contained added sugar.
Researchers determined that the type of beverage most commonly consumed by kids depended greatly on their age and gender. Older kids were more likely to drink soft drinks and water, while younger kids were more likely to drink milk. Furthermore, boys were more likely to consume soft drinks while girls drank more water.
Unfortunately, such high rates of soda consumption can significantly increase a child’s risk for a number of chronic health problems. Not only has sugar consumption been linked to an increased risk for cavities and gum disease, high sugar consumption also increases a child’s risk for diabetes and weight gain.
Sugar consumption must start to come down if parents hope to better protect the long-term oral health of their kids.
Your Dentist for Kids in Eugene is Here to Help
To prevent the type of tooth decay and gum disease most closely linked to sugar consumption, it’s important that parents schedule regular exams and cleanings with Dr. Feldmanis. Frequent exams provide Dr. Feldmanis the opportunity to spot the early signs of tooth decay before a cavities have time to form. When treated with fluoride and daily brushing and flossing, early tooth decay can be reversed and further damage prevented.
If you have any questions about the best dietary habits for your child, make sure to ask your dentist for kids in Eugene, Dr. Rita Feldmanis, during your next visit.