According to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), sodas account for about 20% of all beverages consumed by children and teens, despite the fact that overall sugary drink consumption is declining. This has dramatic consequences for their oral health, both as children and as adults.

CDC: Kids Drink Too Much Soda

Recent Beverage Survey

The report draws data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which is a nationwide survey of many aspects of the diet and health of Americans. Food data is based on subjects’ ability to recall and honestly report their food choices.

This study revealed that children and teens consumed the following proportion of beverages (numbers may not add up due to rounding):

  • Water: 44%
  • Milk: 22%
  • Soda: 20%
  • 100% juice: 7%
  • Other Beverages: 8%

According to health recommendations, children should consume water, milk, and juice as their primary beverages. However, the common use of soda is worrying because of the damage it can do to teeth.

Variations by Age, Race, and Gender

The survey also revealed that the amount of different beverages consumed varied strongly according to age, race, and gender.

Perhaps the most significant trend relates to age. As children get older, they tend to consume less milk and less juice, but much more soda, water, and other beverages. For teens, the amount of milk and juice combined (19%) account for a lower share of the beverage total than soda alone(22%). In addition, as milk consumption declined, “other beverages” became much more popular, nearly quadrupling in size (3% at age 2-5 years vs. 11% at age 12-19 years). These other beverages include sports drinks and energy drinks, which may be as bad as soda for oral health.

Race also contributes significantly to what people drink. Non-hispanic Asians drink much less soda than do their non-hispanic black counterparts (8.8% vs. 30.4%). Non-hispanic blacks also drink the least water and milk (37.6% and 16.4% respectively).

The study also showed that girls tended to drink more water and less milk than boys–other beverages were roughly the same.

Kids’ Choices Have Lifelong Consequences

It’s important to understand that decisions like what kids drink can have lifelong consequences in terms of oral health. By the time kids reach age 12, most of them will have a full set of adult teeth. These children drinking soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks are badly eroding their enamel. The body is not really capable of repairing enamel once damaged. Once the enamel is lost, it requires reconstructive dentistry to repair. Even children who don’t notice dental problems in their teens will begin to see them once they get older.

If you are a parent, it’s important to steer your child toward healthy beverages to help protect their teeth. However, if you are an adults whose teeth have been damaged by drinking acidic beverages, it may be time to restore your damaged teeth.

Let us help. We offer child and family dentistry to help care for your entire family. And if you are an adult whose teeth have been damaged by soda, we offer cosmetic and restorative dentistry to help your smile return to health and stay that way. Please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment with a River Edge, NJ dentist at the River Edge Dental Center for General & Cosmetic Dentistry.