Posted on 11/15/2019 by Dr. Michael Wockenfus
|Many people view using sugar substitutes as the best way to avoid tooth decay. Sometimes its sugar-free soda or energy drinks.
You can even substitute it for real sugar in many foods you can make at home. The question begs, does using these really help you avoid oral issues like tooth decay.
The role of natural sugar plays in your oral health is how it fuels the bacteria in your mouth. When sugar enters the mouth, it comes in contact with everyday bacteria. These bacteria feed off of the sugar for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. They transform the sugar into plaque. Plaque is an acid that slowly erodes the tooth's protective enamel. The longer a sugar-laced food stays in contact with your teeth, the worse the erosion becomes.
As mentioned, we view artificial sweeteners as healthier because they don't have that sugar that is converted into plaque. This makes them healthier for the mouth. We refer most sweeteners as sugar alcohol; this is because of the chemical similarity they both have. There is a large variety of them.
We commonly find Xylitol in sugar-free gum. It's one of the few sugar-free chemicals that is recommended by dentists, this is because of its ability to fight off cavities. The issue with sugar-free foods and beverages is that they don't protect your teeth from the acidic properties found in diet substitutes. With sugar-free, it's recommended you stay away from anything citrus-based.
Those sugar-free flavors that are minty have been shown to have much lower acidic contents. When you consume either sugar or a sugar substitute, it will be best for your teeth to use moderation in both.
Using a healthy sugar substitute like the Xylitol is best. However, keep in mind that the most damaging food for teeth is crackers and bread. They are the most cavity-causing. The point being the foods you consume will affect your teeth more than their sugar content.