Fruit juice, pop, sports drinks, energy drinks, and your pumpkin spice latte are loaded with sugar—and that’s bad news for your teeth. Do you know how much sugar is in your favorite beverages, and how it affects your dental health?
Recommended sugar limit
Your recommended daily sugar limit depends on several factors, including age, gender, activity level, total caloric intake and health conditions. Generally, men should limit their sugar consumption to 37.5 grams (nine teaspoons), while women should limit sugar to 25 grams (6 teaspoons). Keep in mind that this is an upper limit—if you can stay below these recommendations, so much the better.
If you’re drinking sugary beverages, you can exceed your entire daily sugar intake in just one 12-ounce beverage.
Sugar content in popular beverages
According to the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, this is how much sugar you’ll consume in just one, 12-ounce serving of these beverages:
- Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey: 6 teaspoons, or 27 grams
- Coca-Cola Classic: 10 teaspoons, or 41 grams
- Gatorade G Orange: 5 teaspoons, or 22 grams
- Minute Maid orange juice: 10 teaspoons, or 41 grams
- Odwalla Strawberry C-Monster: 14 teaspoons, or 57 grams
- POM Wonderful pomegranate juice: 14 teaspoons, or 60 grams
- Starbucks Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino: 14 teaspoons, or 57 grams
As you can see, these beverages have an overabundance of sugar! The sugar content of other popular beverages can be found by clicking the link above, or noted under the product’s nutritional facts. You can, of course, switch to sugar-free alternative to cut down on your sugar intake—or drink naturally sugar-free beverages such as bottled water, sparkling water, unsweetened coffee and tea. However, the acid in sugar-free soda and certain other drinks can still be harmful to your tooth enamel.
How sugary beverages affect your dental health
Even if you’re brushing and flossing regularly, sugary beverages (and diet soda) work to break down the enamel on your teeth. Bacteria live between and around your teeth, which feed on the sugar you consume. When these bacteria encounter sugar, they produce an acid that harms your tooth enamel. Over time, sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Unless you’re brushing your teeth after every soda you drink, which is not realistic for most lifestyles, you’re exposing your teeth to the harmful bacteria and acid.
If you can’t quite kick the sugary beverage habit, take steps to mitigate any damage. For example, limit yourself to one sugary beverage per day, and drink water the rest of the time. Alternatively, you can bring a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with you to brush after meals and drinks. Some people add a splash of fruit juice to their sparkling water—it adds plenty of flavor while keeping the sugar content lower.
Whatever your drink of choice may be, it’s important to monitor your sugar intake. To keep your pearly whites healthy and strong, schedule a dental checkup and cleaning with your favorite Fioritto Family dentist every six months! Call today to schedule your next appointment!