What is Drinks Destroy Teeth?

Drinks Destroy Teeth is an educational outreach program of the Indiana Dental Association to inform the public about the potentially harmful oral health effects of drinking acidic and sugary drinks. Drinks Destroy Teeth components consist of a hands on curriculum (including 2 lesson plans), a complementary mobile app, and supplemental resources.

 

Why is the Drinks Destroy Teeth program necessary?

The oral health of children is essential to good overall health. Speaking, eating and living without pain are dentists’ goals for their patients. The prevention of decay and gum disease begins with a working knowledge of how plaque contributes to decay and gum disease. Teaching good preventive habits such as frequent brushing and flossing, as well as making sound choices of foods and drinks, results in a lifetime gift of good oral health.

Drinks overwhelm fluoride’s positive effect.

 

  • Fluoride’s primary defense against decay is that it makes enamel harder. Harder enamel is more decay-resistant. Soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks have acid that attacks the enamel, making it easier to start a cavity. This may cause dental erosion, or the permanent loss of enamel.
  • Acidic drinks soften the enamel, often requiring hours to harden to its original strength. When enamel is soft, and sugar in the drinks increases the amount of plaque, which produces more acid, it is easier for teeth to decay.
  • Sugar-laden, acidic drinks consumed in large quantities create the perfect environment for teeth to decay. Sipping the drinks increases the exposure time to the sugar and acid, so there is more dental erosion and decay.

 

Addressing Dental Erosion in the Classroom

The Indiana Dental Association is pleased to offer two science-based, ready-to-use lesson plans for your fourth- or fifth-grade classroom.

The first lesson demonstrates how an eggshell dissolves in sports and soft drinks, but hardens in milk. As students explore the properties and strengths of acid, they will then be able to relate the acids to more cavities in teeth.

The second lesson measures the acid’s strength with pH strips and demonstrates the amount of sugar contained in popular drinks. When a drink has low pH and is combined with sugar, students will conclude the drink’s harmful effects on teeth.

 

Enjoy decay-free teeth for a lifetime.