An important element of healthy living is healthy eating. We have said before, we are what we eat. With a new year upon us, it is important to remember, we are also what we drink!
I have stressed the importance of proper hydration before. This year I want to encourage you to cutback on carbonated beverages. These delicious beverages can have deleterious effects on your health, your teeth, and your jaw. Let’s take a closer look.
Soft drinks typically contain loads of sugar with little nutritive value. The average American drinks 45 gallons of soda a year! With one can of soda containing 30-40 grams of sugar, you can see how this adds up quickly. Numerous studies show the negative effects of high sugar consumption. Remember, high levels of sugar in the diet increases your body’s level of inflammation and pain, a direct effect on your jaw joint.
Numerous studies show other health problems are related to frequent soda consumption. These include diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and liver disease, to name a few. But sugar is not the only problem with soft drinks. Diet sodas also contain other chemicals and dyes which have been linked to cancer, kidney disease, metabolic disease, bone disease, and even central nervous system changes. What does frequent soda consumption do to our mouth? Besides irritating the oral mucosa, citric, phosphoric, and malic acids found in soft drinks cause an increase in dental erosion. Carbonated soft drinks have been shown to roughen dental restorations and increase fungal colonization in the oral cavity. Wound healing even slows down in those who drink carbonated beverages.
Our bodies are made of more than 60% water. Our muscles are 75% water. The liquid we drink can hydrate and nourish, or it can dehydrate and malnourish. Find ways to replace your soft drink consumption with water! Take water with you on the go. Make water accessible at work. Drink water before and after you exercise. Have water at home. This will go a long way in optimizing your health.
May you be successful in your new year’s resolutions!
Nathan J. Pettit, DMD, MSD
Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics