The university study found one in eight children has more than three soft drinks a day.
At just 25 years of age William Kennewell has no teeth left. He blames his addiction to soft drink for the hefty price his teeth have paid.
The habit saw him down six to eight litres of Coca-Cola every day for three years.More stories from Today Tonight
"I worked in hotels that had Coke on tap so easily had fifteen to twenty glasses a day, and it all adds up," Kennewell said.
Despite surgery and new dentures, he's still drinking four to five litres a week.
Dentists, like specialist periodontist Dr Arnis Lidums, say they are seeing children as young as six having rotten baby teeth pulled out after substituting water with sugary acidic soft drinks.
"Drinking litres and litres of soft drink daily is the equivalent of having your teeth stored in an acid bath all day long, and the damage can occur fairly quickly," Dr Lidums said.
"Teeth initially can become quite sensitive and they'll start to become shorter as the protective enamel over the surface of the teeth disappears."
Our consumption of fizzy drinks has doubled in four decades. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics we were drinking about 47 litres per person in 1969. Today it's estimated to be over 100 litres - that's almost 300 standard cans a year.
The University of Adelaide's Dr Jason Armfield authored a School of Dentistry Report which points out that "in terms of oral health, the two big things are dental erosion and dental decay. Erosion is caused by the fact that many of these drinks are highly acidic and that can lead to a weakening of the enamel that can cause problems."
Compared to water, which has a neutral pH level, soft drink is 5000 times more acidic. A can contains approximately nine teaspoons of sugar.
The Report surveyed almost 17,000 children and found some kids are drinking more than three glasses of sugary drinks a day.
"The Report found that there was a big association between the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and dental decay," Dr Armfield said.The results, published in the American Journal of Public Health also found that:
- Almost 60 per cent of children aged five to sixteen consume at least one sweet drink per day.
- Thirteen per cent drink more than three drinks, and boys are higher consumers.
- Children in lower income families consume 60 per cent more sugared drinks.
- Decayed, missing or filled baby teeth are 46 per cent higher among children drinking more than three glasses per day.
Think cigarette warnings about rotting teeth are a turn-off? Imagine if similar labels were slapped on soft drinks. This is what the experts are calling for as our intake of soft drink soars.
"Having a warning there might be just the sort of thing needed for a parent to think 'maybe I shouldn't do this, maybe I should get a healthier replacement'," Dr Armfield said.
However the Australian Beverage Council's chief executive Geoff Parker argues that people need to take responsibility for their own dental hygiene.
"Soft drinks are not to blame unequally for poor dental hygiene. What is to blame is people not brushing their teeth twice a day," Parker said.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek believes warning labels are not necessary.
"We know that a lot of sugar in your diet is not good for your teeth, and sometimes if people are sipping on soft drinks all day - it means that their teeth are exposed to sugar for a big part of the day," she said.
"I think that most people know that soft drinks aren't good for them. We are putting an extra almost $2 billion into dental care over the next two years, so people will be much more able to see a dentist if they need to."
Experts say swap the sweet stuff for water.
This reporter is on Twitter at @LyndaKinkade
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