In 2015 an interesting article came out in the PLOS Medicine journal that documents how the sugar industry manipulated research as far back as the 1960’s about how best to prevent cavities. Some interesting finds…
- Even in the 1950’s the sugar industry knew that sugar caused damage to teeth and that there was consideration being given to campaigns to reduce sugar consumption
- They sought to deflect attention away from these sugar reduction campaigns and towards other avenues
- They manipulated research towards methods of harm reduction such as vaccines, enzymes, and other methods to reduce decay without reducing sugar
This type of manipulation was going on back then and is still going on today. Here is a current quote from the American Beverage Association…
It is irresponsible to blame foods, beverages or any other single factor for enamel loss and tooth decay (dental caries or cavities),”…”Science tells us that individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s dental hygiene behavior, lifestyle, total diet and genetic make-up.
Sure, that’s all technically true but it misses the point. Consistent acid and sugar in your diet leads to cavities. That is a proven fact. A huge number of people get that exposure directly from sugary beverages that they bathe their teeth in all day long.
The first question I ask a patient who comes in with a large number of cavities is if they drink sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, or juices on any consistent basis. 90% of them tell me yes.
I see every single day, the massive damage done by the sugar and soda industries. They have expertly marketed and infiltrated their products into just about everything. You can barely find a consumer food product that doesn’t contain some level of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Don’t kid yourself. The rise of sugar in the typical western diet has almost single-handedly caused the massive rise in cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases. Dental decay would be far less prevalent if we were to practice moderation in our sugar consumption. Honestly, I’d probably be out of a job.
So what can you do about it?
- Read labels on food products. Avoid products with added sugar.
- Cook your own food made with real ingredients.
- Limit sugary items to the specific times when you eat. Don’t just graze or sip all day.
- Don’t keep soda in your house or workplace. It should be a treat, not an everyday (or every minute for some people) thing.
- Teach your kids all these things.
The sugar and soda industries aren’t going to change. Their massive profits make it so they can’t and won’t. You, however, can change and protect your health long term. It is hard but it is worth it.