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Soft Drinks, Soft Bones and Dental Health


Osteoporosis is a great public health concern that affects approximately 55% of people over 50 years of age. Many older American women are aware of the problems and risks of developing osteoporosis. What may be surprise to many older Americans is the connection between soft drink consumption and osteoporosis. What may also surprise many is that a visit to your dentist could help detect early signs of skeletal bone loss when preventive measures are most successful.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo found a strong, direct relationship between skeletal bone loss and tooth loss and found that dental x-rays serve as a good screening tool for osteoporosis. Several studies have linked the osteoporotic changes in the spine and long bones and bone loss in the jaws and tooth loss. Osteoporosis and many other systemic diseases show early signs in the mouth and teeth. A complete dental exam should be considered an essential part of health maintenance and prevention.

Many women aware of how to prevent osteoporosis are diligently taking calcium supplements and even medications prescribed by their physician, but what they drink regularly can have an enormous impact on bone density as well. Soft drinks are particularly harmful not only to teeth but to your bones. Along with the average 10 teaspoons of pure sugar per can, that many soft drinks have, they also contain phosphoric acid. Studies have shown that phosphoric acid affects calcium metabolism and bone mass. To have healthy bones, the body needs a balanced ratio of calcium/phosphoric acid, along with other minerals and proteins. The large quantities of phosphoric acid in many soft drinks cause calcium to be drawn out from bones in order to keep the blood ratio in balance. Excess soft drink acids in the stomach also bind to calcium consumed and keeps it from being absorbed. These effects are seen with diet, caffeine-free and regular soft drinks. The latest statistics show that the average American consumed more than 53 gallons of soft drinks a year. Making informed choices about drinks can have a significant effect on bone and dental health.

A comprehensive dental exam is not what it use to be years ago. Many dentists today are not only keeping teeth healthy, but are detecting early signs of many diseases and addressing total health issues. Now you have one more reason to see your dental health as part of your overall health. Visit your dentist regularly for complete examinations and if you do not have a regular dentist, Dr. Alicia Ramos is accepting new patients at 919-493-5714.

-S. Alicia Ramos DDS