Pop is a fun treat that most children can enjoy occasionally with no negative impact on oral health. But pop should definitely only be an occasional treat, as it can do a lot of damage to children’s teeth when consumed in excess!
North Americans in general drink far too much pop; many people drink it on a daily basis, or even multiple times a day. Ask any dentist, and they’ll tell you: this is a serious problem when it comes to children's oral health!
How Do Soft Drinks Damage Teeth?
The sugars in pop interact with the bacteria in the mouth, and together, they create acids. Pop is also acidic itself, which just adds to the problem.
Over time and with regular pop consumption, these acids cause the enamel and dentin of the teeth to soften and erode. They can even cause damage to composite fillings. Eventually, cavities will start to develop.
What About Sugar-Free or Diet Pop?
Although sugar-free and diet pops do not contain as much sugar as regular pop (or any sugar at all), all soft drinks can damage teeth because they all contain acids, which contribute to the erosion of enamel and dentin.
How Can I Prevent Damage?
The best way to prevent the damage caused by pop is (you guessed it!) to stop drinking so much of it. Especially if your family drinks it on a daily basis, it’s time to cut back significantly. Serve water, milk, or even fruit juice (in moderation) instead.
No,w you don't have to cut pop out of your families lives completely. It's supposed to be a fun treat and as such, can be enjoyed in moderation (say, as a treat during a party or along with takeout pizza for example). This sort of moderate consumption won't cause any damage as long as your child's oral health care routines are good. When your kids do drink pop, be sure they take extra care with their oral hygiene routine afterwards.
Over time, after your pop consumption has been cut down, you’ll probably find that you and your family no longer enjoy it as much when you do drink it. Many of our patients who have cut it out report finding it much too sweet, and not as refreshing as they remember.