Adolescence is the time of peak bone growth, a time when more nutrient-packed calories are essential to fuel growing bodies and strengthen teeth and bones; however, with our current lifestyles, adolescence is when soda and sugary, high-carbohydrate foods displace healthy foods such as milk, fruits, and vegetables.
As a result, a generation may be left with permanent damage to oral and overall health.
“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,” explains Jane Soxman, DDS, author of a study that ran in the Academy of General Dentistry’s journal.
The phosphoric, citric, tartaric, and/or carbonic acid in soda is now linked to breaking down the tooth enamel around dental sealants and restorations, further compromising teens’ teeth and leading to more extensive dental treatment to prevent total tooth loss.
Phosphoric acid also limits calcium absorption and has a direct influence on bone density. This is especially critical for young girls. By age 16, teenage girls have accumulated 90 to 97 percent of their bone mass, making adequate calcium intake vital. However, national statistics show only 19 percent of girls ages 9 to 19 are getting the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day.
New research also confirms a direct link between soft drink consumption and bone fractures in teenage girls.
“These girls are at an extreme risk for developing osteoporosis, already exhibiting symptoms of this disease in their teen years,” says Dr. Soxman. “early education on the importance of calcium consumption is key to reversing this trend.”
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