ADA Supports NYC Soda Ban

***UPDATED: May 31, 2013*** If the New York City ban on the sale of large, sugary soda pop wasn’t enough to make you second-guess your consumption habit, maybe this is.  A recent case study published in the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), General Dentistry, claims that the damage to the mouth associated with the use of illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine and crack cocaine, is similar to those experienced with the consumption of large quantities of carbonated soda.  The study looked at three individuals who each abused a drug of choice (meth, crack, or soda) and confessed to having poor oral hygiene.  Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by high acid levels.  The damage was of the same nature and severity, regardless of whether it was caused by citric acid or battery acid.

The recent New York City ban on the service of large, sugary drinks is creating quite a controversy nationwide.   On one hand, health experts agree, the mass consumption of soda and other super-sweet beverages is directly affecting the obesity and oral disease epidemic in this country, leading many to support the move.  On the other hand, many Americans are screaming “foul” as they feel their individual rights are being limited, with many claiming its well within their right to drink as much pop as they’d like.  Whether you agree with the ban or not, the conversation has certainly been started and just about everyone can agree that it’s been long overdue.

Dr. William Calnon, president of the American Dental Association (ADA), has released a statement applauding New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for drawing attention to the issue.  In a recent Dental Tribune America article, (“Big Apple ban on large sugary beverages gets a thumbs-up from ADA”) Calnon points out that doctors and dentists have harped on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise for years, however heart disease and diabetes causing obesity is still on the rise.  A recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that more than one in five Americans have untreated cavities, resulting in millions of missed work and school hours.  Although progress has been made in nutritional education, Americans are still making poor choices, and it’s continuing to affect the quality of their lives.

The ADA adopted a policy in 2000 that opposed the sale of soda in schools, attempting to break the consumption pattern and decrease the access kids have to soft drinks. Their stance is very clear, obviously opposing the heavy consumption of the sugary stuff, but they also recommend some sugar in daily diets.  Many foods and drinks are natural sources of sugar, such as milk, apples, and carrots, which provide important nutrients to our bodies.  But from a dental perspective, a steady diet of sugary and acidic foods can, and will, damage teeth.  The bacteria which causes cavities feed on sugar for up to 20 minutes after you eat or drink.  If you sip on soda all day, this means that the enamel of your teeth is constantly under attack, leading to significant oral conditions if left untreated.   In addition to limiting sugary foods and beverages, the ADA also recommends brushing twice a day with ADA-Accepted fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet and visiting your dentist bi-annually.  For more information about proper dental care, visit the ADA website Mouth Healthy.

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