Permanent tooth loss and sugar-sweetened beverage intake in U.S. young adults

J Public Health Dent. 2017 Mar;77(2):148-154. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12192. Epub 2016 Nov 25.


Objective: In young adults, sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake is associated with dental caries, which in turn is a major contributor to tooth loss. The independent role of SSB intake on tooth loss, however, has not been well-described. This cross-sectional study examined associations between tooth loss and SSB intake among U.S. young adults.

Methods: The outcome was number of permanent teeth lost because of dental caries or periodontal disease (0, 1-5, ≥6 teeth). Data from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were used. The 22,526 adults aged 18-39 years completed the Sugar Drink Module. The exposure variable was daily frequency of SSB intake. We used multinomial logistic regression to examine the adjusted associations between tooth loss and daily SSB consumption (0, >0 to <1, 1-2, >2 times/day).

Results: Approximately, 26% of young adults reported losing at least one permanent tooth. Tooth loss was positively associated with SSB intake frequency; the odds of losing 1-5 teeth were higher among adults drinking SSBs >0-<1 times/day (OR = 1.44, 95%CI = 1.16-1.79), 1-2 times/day (OR = 1.58, 95%CI = 1.25-1.99), and >2 times/day (OR = 1.97, 95%CI = 1.51-2.58) than non-SSB consumers. The odds of losing ≥6 teeth were higher among adults drinking SSBs 1-2 times/day (OR = 2.20, 95%CI = 1.15-4.22) and >2 times/day (OR = 2.81, 95%CI = 1.37-5.76) than non-SSB consumers.

Conclusions: Frequency of SSB consumption was positively associated with tooth loss among young adults even when the average SSB intake was less than one time per day. This study suggests that efforts to reduce SSB intake among young adults may help to decrease the risk of tooth loss.

Keywords: behavioral risk factor surveillance system; dental caries; dietary sugars; oral health; tooth loss; young adult.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Caries / chemically induced*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sugars*
  • Tooth Loss / chemically induced*
  • Tooth Loss / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Sugars