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     This article will provide you with the straight facts of how your beverage choices may affect your overall health.

     Soft drinks:

  1.  Represent the single largest source of added sweeteners in the American diet.  

  2. There are more than 450 different soft drinks that account for one-third of all calories Americans consume from added sweeteners.  

  3. The consumption of soft drinks in the United States has increased 500% over the past 50 years.  

  4. Currently the average person consumes more than 53 gallons of carbonated soft drinks a year, this amount surpassed all other beverages, including milk, beer, coffee and water. 

  5. In moderation, soft drinks can fit into a healthy eating plan. But too often, soft drinks just provide sugar, calories and acid.

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     Heavy consumption of sugar containing soft drinks can lead to excessive amount of sugar and tooth decay.  Persons who consumed three or more sugared sodas a day had a 17-62% higher rate of dental cavities. Mountain Dew-20 oz is the worst pop, it contains 19 tsps of sugar and 93 milligrams of caffeine.......nearly equivalent to adult dose of NoDoz   Just one can of regular pop per day contains the maximum recommended intake of sugar a day. Soft drinks contain sticky sugars that break down into acids that can soften tooth surfaces leading to cavities.  Factors that cause tooth decay include the frequency in which the foods/drinks are consumed and the time they remain in the mouth.

Liquid acidified sugar

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     Excessive intake of regular pop can:


Contribute to too many calories.


Lead to obesity .


Decrease intake of foods that have a high nutrient value.  


Lead to deficiencies such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and increased rate of bone fractures in women.  


Soft drinks are low in nutritional value. Thus the impact of soft drinks is that nutritious foods and drinks are being replaced by liquid acidified sugar we call “pop”. 

    Regularly drinking carbonated soft drinks can contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel surfaces due to their low pH. Most soft drinks contain one or two common acids-phosphoric acid and citric acid. Phosphoric acid content of soft drinks may reduce calcium absorption and contribute to osteoporosis. These acids, which are present in both regular and diet pop, have the potential to contribute to enamel breakdown and when combined with sugar can lead to rampant decay! 

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     There's no need to totally eliminate soft drinks, but do try to get the nutrients you need from other sources and remember excessive intake of pop is detrimental to your overall health.  Here are dental healthy suggestions:


·   Try to drink soda pop only with meals to limit your teeth's exposure to the sugar and acid.


·    Select pop cans over re-sealable bottles because they limit consumption of the pop to one sitting.


·    If you drink a pop alone or between meals, chew sugarless gum afterward to increase your saliva flow or rinse your mouth with water.


·   Use a straw positioned toward the back of the mouth to reduce pop’s direct contact to the teeth.


·   Brush with fluoridated toothpaste and have regular fluoride treatments.


·   Because saliva helps neutralize acids and wash your teeth clean.


    The worst time to drink soda pop is when you are very thirsty or dehydrated due to low levels of saliva, so determine to quench your thirst with water.


·   Eat a dental healthy diet that emphasizes moderation and a variety of foods.


·   Keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water; saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues.


·   Limit regular pop to one can per day.


·   Neither regular nor diet pop should replace nutrient dense foods or beverages.


·   Keep your regular dental check-up appointments.

April 07, 2007

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Soft Drinks and Hard Challenges 3 April 2007
Karen R Siegel,
global health student
Yale University,
KM Venkat Narayan

Send letter to journal:
Re: Soft Drinks and Hard Challenges




Globally, 1.7 billion people are overweight or obese and 246 million have diabetes. Ninety percent of all diabetes cases are type 2, of which 90% are directly attributable to excess weight.1 Overweight and diabetes account for a large percentage of healthcare costs in most countries.2 Vartanian et al’s meta-analysis found a clear association of soft drink intake with increased calorie intake and body weight, lower intakes of milk, calcium and other nutrients and increased risk of several medical problems including diabetes.3 Based on the data, the authors appropriately recommend reductions in population soft drink consumption, a task easier said than done in today’s obesogenic environment.

Americans, for example, consume 38.3 gallons of full-calorie soft drinks per person per year.4 This corresponds to approximately 63,000 calories, or if consumed in excess of energy requirements, 18 pounds of weight gain per individual per year. In light of rapid globalization, the wide reach of soft drinks accompanies technological advances that lead to sedentary behavior, placing individuals, especially children and adolescents, at further risk for overweight and diabetes. But globalization can also be part of the solution. How can we utilize powerful globalizing forces to reduce sweetened soft drink consumption? The answer lies in structural, rather than educational, changes. Industry can and should be a part of the global response to obesity, but in what role? Development of new drinks like Diet Coke Plus, Tava and 7Up Plus are encouraging, and show that issues of obesity – and declining soda sales due to consumer anti-fat attitudes – are beginning to be taken seriously.5 Several reports by investment firms – Swiss Re, JP Morgan – show that investing in health and healthier drinks and products is profitable, and a report published by the HEAL Partnership in February recommends ways that companies should address consumer health and obesity issues, including strategy, governance and reformulating products.6 The May 2006 agreement between Clinton's Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cadbury Schweppes is a good example of industry’s role.7 Kraft, PepsiCo and others have created healthier products and voluntarily restricted advertising; more companies should follow.

Governments also have an important role. Cigarette taxes and advertising bans are known to be among the most effective ways to curb smoking, especially among youth. Considering skyrocketing obesity rates, and growing concern of diabetes, among children and adolescents, governments should discourage sweetened soda consumption by adding taxes to their sales and even subsidizing healthier beverages. Governments can also work with industry to encourage healthier drinks/foods, for example, by financially rewarding companies for innovation. The cost of treatment for obesity and diabetes far outweighs the cost of prevention: innovation costs can be viewed as minimal, even as investment.

Triumphant collaboration between public health and industry was demonstrated in early fortification of foods with iron and folic acid in the US. However, no successful attempts to reducing overweight have been reported anywhere; creative win-win solutions are crucial. Media campaigns, using cartoon characters and story formats to garner the attention of children and celebrities to appeal to teenagers, can encourage consumption of healthier foods and drinks. Finally, NGOs can bolster the above efforts by working to unite all actors toward the common goal of reducing obesity, an example of which is provided by the London- based Oxford Health Alliance. In light of unprecedented increases in overweight and diabetes globally, action is urgently needed to curb trends. Potentially cost-effective and pragmatic solutions – structural changes as opposed to educational interventions alone – that include industry are crucial. Excess calories from sweetened soft drinks is just one cause of the obesity epidemic, but collaborative efforts directed at reducing soft drink consumption can provide a focused start.


1. Hossain P, Kawar B, El Nahas M. Obesity and Diabetes in the Developing World – A Growing Challenge. N Eng J Med. 2007; 356(3): 213- 215.

2. Yach D, Stuckler D, Brownell KD. Epidemiologic and economic consequences of the global epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Nature Medicine. 2006; 12(1):62-66.

3. Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KB. Effects of Soft drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta- Analysis. American Journal of Public Health. 2007; 97(3): 1-7.

4. American Beverage Association [homepage on the Internet]. Washington, DC: American Beverage Association; 2007 [updated 9 Mar 2007; cited 2007 Mar 9]. What America Drinks; [1 screen]. Available from: marketing--consumption/what-america-drinks/index.aspx

5. Martin A. Makers of Sodas Try a New Pitch: They’re Healthy. The New York Times. 2007 Mar 7.

6. HEAL Global Partnership [homepage on the Internet]. London: IBLF; 2007 [updated 2007 Feb 8; cited 2007 Mar 7]. HEAL General Full Desc Page; [about 3 screens]. Available from:

7. William J. Clinton Foundation: Alliance for a Healthier Generation [homepage on the Internet]. New York: William J. Clinton Foundation; c2004 -2007 [updated 2006 May; cited 2007 Mar 7]. School Beverage Policy; [about 2 screens]. Available from: work2.htm

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