3 Drinks That Have Way More Sugar Than You Think

risk of tooth decay drinking iced teaThe message that soda is bad for your teeth and your overall health is hard to avoid these days. Most of us already know that sugary soda pop should be treated as a special treat, not an everyday beverage for quenching your thirst. What may surprise you is how many supposedly healthy drinks have a lot of sugar in them.

First, a reminder why sugar is bad for your teeth in the first place. Sugar causes tooth decay because bacteria (many of which naturally occur in your mouth) consume the sugar, digest it, and release it as acid. This acid erodes your tooth enamel and causes cavities. It’s not the sugar itself that’s dangerous, it’s the acid it creates!

So you have something to compare to, here’s the sugar content of popular sodas:

  • Coca Cola has 64g of sugar per serving
  • Sprite has 61g of sugar per serving

The nutrition labels on beverages can sometimes be hard to understand for Americans who aren’t used to the metric system of measurement. For your reference, one teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams. So 64g of sugar is equivalent to 16 tablespoons of sugar (in other words, a third of a cup!).

Orange Juice – 24g (6 teaspoons) of sugar per 8 oz. serving

Oranges are known for being a great source of Vitamin C, which can help keep your immune system strong. And while this is true of the fruit itself, the juice is less honorable. An orange only contains about 2 oz. of juice, meaning a small 8 oz. glass of orange juice has the equivalent of 4 oranges. So eating an orange with your breakfast makes sense but downing a glass of orange juice is actually 4 times the sugar. Plus, like all citrus juices, orange juice is acidic. That means there are actually two substances in orange juice that could potentially harm your teeth.

Sports Drinks – 14g (3.5 teaspoons) of sugar per 8 oz. serving

Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are touted as being a healthy option for anyone who engages in strenuous exercise, and their ads are full of professional athletes reaching for a brightly covered beverage to replenish their bodies. And while 14g of sugar per 8 0z. serving may not seem like a lot compared with soda pop’s 64g, ask yourself, when was the last time you only had only a quarter of a bottle of Gatorade? A regular bottle is 32 oz., meaning if you finish the bottle you’re actually consuming 56g of sugar!

Iced Tea – 24g (6 teaspoons) of sugar per 8 oz. serving

Obviously, on its own, tea doesn’t contain any sugar, but over the centuries humans have figured out that adding sweeteners to tea can be pretty tasty, and iced tea is no exception. The trouble is that iced teas are marketed these days as natural and healthy, and you can easily overlook how much sugar they contain. For example, Arizona Iced Tea contains 24g of sugar per serving and Snapple Lemon Iced Tea contains 23g. The good news is there are unsweetened varieties of iced tea available for purchase, and you can always make your own so you can control the amount of sugar yourself.

In a dentist‘s fantasy world, all our patients would avoid sugary drinks completely, but we know that’s not realistic. All we ask is for our patients to have some awareness of what they’re subjecting their teeth and bodies to. After all, our ultimate job is protecting your smile! Remember, just because something has a reputation of being healthy and natural, and advertising that says so, doesn’t mean it can’t do harm.


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How Long to Dental Implants Last?

model showing dental implantsDental implants are one of the greatest innovations of modern dentistry. They are true prosthetic replacement teeth, consisting of an artificial titanium tooth root with a porcelain crown attached. Over 3 million Americans have dental implants, and that number is increasing by 500,000 people per year (source). With dental implants becoming a more and more popular solution to replace missing teeth, it’s fair to ask: how long do dental implants last?

The short answer is that dental implants can last a lifetime. Here’s the long answer.

Anyone who has had to have a crown or a bridge replaced or dentures re-fitted knows that not all dental restorations last forever. These three types of restorations can each fail for their own reasons. In the case of crowns and bridges, they can fail if the original tooth structure they’re attached to gets compromised due to decay. Most dentures eventually need to be refitted or replaced when bone loss causes the jaw to change shape.

Luckily, if you get dental implants, you don’t have to worry about the same risks. One of the reasons that implants are considered the best and most advanced option for replacing missing teeth is they are not subject to the same failure problems as standard crowns, bridges, or dentures. That isn’t to say that dental implants work perfectly all the time, but recent studies have shown that dental implants have a 98% success rate (source).

Many dentists conservatively estimate that implants will last about 25 years. The reason we can’t guarantee they’ll last a lifetime is there haven’t been very many long-term studies of dental implants yet.

Dental implants in their modern form were invented a little more than 50 years ago. In 1965, a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Brånemark placed the first dental implant in the mouth of a man named Gösta Larsson. When Larsson died in 2006 at the age of 75, his original implants were still in place. They had lasted over 40 years!

Just like your natural teeth, the health and longevity of a dental implant depend on looking after your oral health. Dental implants are cared for just like natural teeth with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups. Smoking can make it much more likely for dental implants to fail, as can pre-existing gum disease (periodontal disease). These health factors should be taken into account before a patient decides to have dental implants placed. If you’re interested in replacing missing teeth with dental implants, come see us and start a conversation!

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What Are Tooth Fillings Made Of? (Hint: Not Frosting!)

man wonders what dental fillings are made ofAsk anyone over the age of 40 and they’ll tell you that getting a dental filling used to mean adding a gleam of metal to your mouth. Recently, modern dentistry has adopted new high-tech materials that imitate the look of natural teeth, allowing tooth-colored dental fillings to become the norm in many dental practices around the world.

Metal fillings are still a perfectly normal and effective way to repair a damaged tooth. Metal fillings are called amalgam fillings by dentists. This name comes from the fact the material is an alloy of metals (including silver, copper, tin, and zinc). Some amalgams can also contain small amounts of mercury, but the American Dental Association has determined that the amount of mercury is so small that it doesn’t post a health risk to patients (source). However, if you’re concerned and would rather avoid the presence of mercury completely, you should choose composite fillings or gold fillings instead.

Composite resin fillings are what dentists call tooth-colored or “white” fillings. Composite is an artificial tooth-like material that is a blend of hard durable plastics and glass. In this way, composite resin imitates your natural tooth enamel, which is also a glass-like material. The dentist also adds coloring agents to the composite resin to ensure it is indistinguishable from the rest of your tooth.

Gold fillings are a different type of metal fillings. Unlike amalgam, they are made entirely from gold. Also, unlike amalgams and composite fillings, gold fillings are cast from a mold of your tooth then applied, a process that requires two dental visits. Both amalgam and composite fillings are sculpted from a pliable material then hardened in place, allowing the treatment to be completed in one visit.

You should know that some insurance companies consider amalgam fillings to be the standard of care and view composite fillings as a cosmetic option. While amalgam and composite fillings serve the same purpose in terms of repairing your tooth, composite fillings cost a little more. As a result, some dental insurance plans don’t cover or reimburse the cost of composite fillings as much as they cover amalgam fillings.

However, please remember that all decisions about your oral health should be between you and your dentist. How much of the cost of a treatment is covered by your insurance should not be considered with the same weight as a treatment recommendation from a clinician or your own personal preferences. In other words, don’t feel obligated to choose one treatment over another based on what your insurance covers or reimburses you for. If you prefer to have nearly invisible, tooth-colored fillings, you should feel free to choose composite fillings.

If you have any questions about the options we offer for fillings, or any questions about the treatment procedures, please feel free to ask us at any time!

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