In late September, the three largest US soft drink companies signed an agreement to try to cut the number of beverage calories consumed by Americans by one-fifth by 2025. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group got together with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Foundation via representatives from the American Beverage Association to craft the agreement. Shortly after the agreement was signed, the American Dental Association (ADA) released a statement saying it supported the announcement.
The ADA has long stated that “reducing the portion sizes of sugary drinks may help reduce tooth decay.” Sugars are readily accessible food for bacteria in the mouth, and when they consume the sugar they excrete acids. The result is tooth decay and irritation and damage to the gums. Sodas are the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet, accounting for 22.8% of all added sugars in the diet, so cutting this total by 20% would represent an almost 5% decrease in overall added sugar intake, which is very significant, considering how much sugar consumption has tended to grow in recent years.
In order to try to reach their reduced consumption goals, the companies plan to use a number of strategies. First, they will turn the tools they used to convince us to drink so many sodas in the first place–marketing and distribution–to increase our interest in lower-sugar options, such as smaller portion sizes and alternatives that contain no sugar or less sugar, such as water. They will also make sure such options are just as accessible as the higher-calorie options. They will then publicize calorie counts at vending machines, fountain dispensers, and retail coolers.
They are also pledging to introduce more lower-calorie products and options so people have better options.
Of course, the agreement here stops short of making these beverages actually friendly to your teeth. Just as bad as the sugar in many cases is the acid level of the beverages, which can be very damaging to your teeth. The pH of many sodas, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper, is below 3.0. Pure lemon juice has a pH of 2.0, and many strong acid solutions fall in the range of 2.0-3.0. There is no good reason why the pH of these drinks needs to be in this range.
Hopefully, once we have reduced sugar consumption via beverages, something can be done about the highly acidic nature of these drinks.
In the meantime, if your teeth have suffered erosion or decay as a result of soft drinks, reconstructive dentistry has many options to help. If you want to learn which one is right for you, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment with a Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist at Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD.