The teenage years are the time of peak bone growth, a period when more nutrient-packed calories are essential to fuel growing bones & bodies and to strengthen teeth and bones. However, with our current fast-paced American lifestyles where it’s always “go go go”, adolescence is also a time when soda and other sugary foods tend to replace healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and calcium rich beverage choices.
As a result, a generation on-the-move may ultimately be left with permanent damage to oral and overall health because they couldn’t slow down long enough to eat properly and attend to proper dental care.
According to a study in the Academy of General Dentistry’s journal, “premature loss of tooth enamel and weakening of overall tooth structure are two devastating oral effects of teens’ poor diet that cannot be reversed later in life”. The acid found in soda is now known to be linked to breaking down the tooth enamel, further degrading our teens’ teeth & leading to more extensive dental treatments to prevent total tooth loss.
Phosphoric acid found in things like soda can also limit calcium absorption. This has a direct negative influence on bone density. This is an especially critical issue for young girls. By the age of 16, girls have already accumulated up to 97 percent of their lifetime bone mass, making adequate calcium intake up to that time vital. Unfortunately, national statistics in the United States show only 19% of females between the ages of 9 and 19 are getting the recommended dietary allowance of 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day.
As well, research now confirms without a doubt there is a direct link between bone fractures and soft drink consumption in teenage girls.
What does this all mean? As a parent – you need to help your children and teens be more vigilant in oral care to prevent major problems later in life. It’s worth the time it takes to slow down for proper nutrition and dental treatment.