The early years of parenting are spent busily teaching this and that. Children are learning to walk and feed themselves. They rely on parents to show them boundaries and compassionate behavior like sharing. As they grow, children transition from needing Mom or Dad to brush their teeth form them to learning how to protect their own teeth from damage. Gradually, the reigns of self-care are handed over. Usually, by the time children become teenagers, the practical teachings of early childhood come to an end. According to studies, we may want to rethink this when it comes to certain aspects of health and wellness.
Teenagers today are far busier than the generations before them. They’ve got the rigors of school as well as jobs and other extracurricular activities. It isn’t hard to see why many teens reach for fast and convenient foods. One of the staples in many teens’ diets is soda. Where there’s not soda, there may be sports drinks or even the occasional energy drink. A report from the Academy of General Dentistry points to the standard teenage diet as a risk not only to oral health but also to bone health.
A Matter of Cause and Effect
We have discussed the dangers of soft drinks before. Here, we want to go beyond the fact that the average soda has at least a teaspoon of sugar combined with acidic ingredients. The combination can very quickly soften enamel to the point of erosion. But there’s more. When soda is consumed on a regular basis, the body is less capable of absorbing the calcium it needs to build healthy bones and teeth.
There is a perception that calcium is vital to young children and also to older women, but not necessarily for teens. In fact, research has stated that it is between the ages of 9 and 18 when the body is doing its most active bone development. So, when the body really needs calcium, it may actually be robbed of it due to the habit of drinking soda.
Should teens be prohibited from consuming soft drinks and sports drinks? Perhaps not. They can be supported by taking calcium on a daily basis and eating calcium-enriched foods. In our office, we assist patients of all ages by performing comprehensive dental checkups that assess the strength of enamel.