Here’s an interesting bit of news for anyone who’s ever developed a serious soda habit. Lawmakers in California recently proposed a bill that would require soda manufacturers to print warnings on the labels of their products. The proposed label changes would emphasize the risk of tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes linked with excessive consumption of soda. Dr. Ryan Hussong, a kids’ dentist in Polk City, IA, discusses recent initiatives to protect children’s and parents’ teeth from the destructive effects of sugar.
Yes, It’s Really That Bad
We can’t help but admire California for its commitment to the health of its residents. In 2005, the state declared that junk food and sodas would no longer be welcome in public schools. The drastic move was taken in response to the overwhelming number of medical experts who attribute tooth decay and the obesity epidemic in part to high-calorie beverages. It isn’t the first time that a state has taken it upon itself to proactively manage obesity. In 2012, the mayor of New York City attempted to ban the sale of oversized sodas. Unfortunately, soda manufacturers and restaurant owners challenged the decision, and a court sided with them, deeming the move illegal.
It’s Just Sugar. What’s the Big Deal?
From a strictly dental point of view, “just sugar” is a dangerous understatement. It starts when bacteria living in the mouth combine with sugars and starches found in foods and beverages. Using your food as fuel, these bacteria multiple and produce toxins and acids. Gums affected by the toxins are more susceptible to infection and periodontal disease, and acid eats away at the tooth enamel, increasing the risk of developing cavities. The longer the sugar and acid remain in the mouth, the more destructive they become. You can mitigate damages by instructing your child to brush his teeth immediately after consuming sugary foods or drinks. If this isn’t feasible, your child should at least use water to rinse the mouth for 30 seconds, then expectorate. Although this does not flush away all bacteria and leftover bits of food, it’s helpful nonetheless.
Only time will tell if California’s labeling bill is approved. There’s always a possibility that our state will enact similar regulations, although we haven’t heard any rumors. Even so, it’s reassuring to know that there are others out there who care about your family’s oral health.
When was your child’s last dental checkup? To learn more about oral hygiene for children, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental Group at (515) 984-6001. We welcome residents of Ankeny, Alleman, Grimes, Ames, Urbandale, and the neighboring communities. For the latest news and tips from our practice, follow us on Facebook.