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RALEIGH, N.C. – Nov. 13, 2015 – The sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages feed bacteria that lead to corrosive effects on teeth that start almost immediately and continue with prolonged exposure.[i]  This is why Delta Dental of North Carolina has launched an oral health initiative to educate the public about how oral health affects the entire body.
Specifically, the Rethink Your Drink Campaign asks North Carolinians to reconsider their drink choices to protect their teeth and their overall health.
“The sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages feeds the bacteria that produce acid in our mouths, attacking and dissolving tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay,” said Delta Dental of North Carolina CEO Curt Ladig. “By asking North Carolinians to rethink their drink choices, Delta Dental is encouraging them to make decisions that will benefit their entire wellbeing.”
For the next five weeks, Delta Dental of North Carolina will post a series of trivia questions related to the effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages. Facebook followers who guess the correct answers will be entered to win a water bottle with a fruit infuser.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of key statistics related to oral health, such as:
  • Tooth decay is the most common chronic, infectious disease among children,[ii] and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages nearly doubles children’s risk of developing cavities.[iii]
  • According to a North Carolina study, children with poor oral health were nearly three times more likely to miss school due to dental pain.[iv] Nationally, children lose more than 51 million hours of school due to oral health problems.[v]
  • People who drink one or two cans of sugar-sweetened beverages a day have a 26 percent greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.[vi]
  • Nearly one third of all adults in the U.S. have untreated tooth decay, and one in seven adults aged 35 to 44 has gum disease.[vii]
To help illustrate the amount of sugar in various sugar-sweetened beverages, Delta Dental offered its Rethink Your Drink display to Guilford Adult Dental. The display has a container of sugar that reflects the number of teaspoons for each drink featured.
“Too many Americans are getting overloaded with 'invisible' calories daily and don't necessarily grasp the impact that these sugar laden drinks have on their health," said Santiya S. Bell, DMD, of SSB DMD dental practice and Gilford Adult Dental. “This combination of powerful visuals with alarming statistics demonstrates how much impact one sugar-sweetened beverage can have."
“This campaign provides a good way to visually show how much hidden sugar is actually found in common drinks,” said Jane Koehler, Guilford County dental hygienist. “I hope it makes people pause before picking up sugar-sweetened beverages.”
To learn more about Rethink Your Drink, follow Delta Dental of North Carolina on Twitter and Facebook.
About Delta Dental of North Carolina
Delta Dental of North Carolina is a nonprofit dental service corporation created in 1970 to provide
dental benefit plans throughout the state. Its mission is to improve the oral health of the communities it serves. It does so by providing affordable access to oral health care with the largest network of providers in North Carolina. For more information:

[i] Department of Growth, Development, and Structure, Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, Alton, USA.
General dentistry 03/2007; 55(2):150-4; quiz 155, 167-8. Source: PubMed.
[iii] Sohn W, Burt BA Sowers MR. Carbonated soft drinks and dental caries in the primary dentition. J Dent Res. March 2006; 85[3]:262–266.
[iv] Jackson, Stephanie L. et al. “Impact of Poor Oral Health on Children’s School Attendance and Performance.” American Journal of Public Health 101.10 (2011): 1900–1906. PMC. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
[vi] Frequently Asked Questions About Sugar, American Heart Association

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