When new patients come to see me for an examination and I diagnose cavities, I ask the patient why are they getting the cavities? Many don’t know. Many say bad genetics. Many tell me the truth! What is the truth? SUGAR! Excessive sugar is the reason one get cavities. There are other factors that contribute to getting cavities. But without sugar, you cannot get cavities.
Sugar in drinks is a major reason for getting cavities. Most drinks have sugar. There is tons of sugar in juice, soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened teas, lemonades, etc. Milk even has a lot of sugar in it! Chocolate milk is simply milk that has more sugar in it!. So, what does that leave to drink that is safe and prevents cavities? WATER! WATER! And more WATER! Water is what our bodies are made to live on. All of these other drinks have excessive sugar, acid, and other chemicals that break enamel down and are sources for cavities. Stop drinking these drinks not just for dental health but overall health. Too much sugar can cause diabetes and contribute to weight gain. Our brains don’t like the fluctuation in blood sugar levels which causes these problems.
For children, I would only allow a little bit of milk per day and mainly water. That’s it! No juice, sodas, or other flavored drinks. Juice is sugar water! That’s it! Do not think that juice has any beneficial health benefit for a child. (In fact, I tell parents to go home and dump all juice down the drain and never buy it again!). Drinking fluoridated tap water would be ideal actually. Daily intake of fluoridated water will help the enamel of the permanent teeth be stronger and more resistant to cavity.
For adults, the SAME thing applies! Drink water! Adults ask me what drinks they can have that have flavor to it. Well, If one likes coffee or tea, try drinking it unsweetened.
I understand it is difficult trying to drink sugar-free all of the time. If you want to treat yourself once a week, go ahead and have your favorite sugary drink. But limit it to that.
There are many drinks that are sugar-free but have artificial sweetener. On a health standpoint, I cannot tell you if artificial sweeteners are safe. So, you will need to do your own research and make your own decisions about having drinks with artificial sweetener and ensure they are beneficial to your health.