The news is spreading: too much sugar can be bad for your health…and bad for your teeth. When sugar sits on the teeth, it causes plaque that attracts bacteria. Bacteria turn the plaque to acid, which wears away at our enamel, causing cavities and a host of other problems, including periodontal disease. And while many people have claimed that sugar substitutes can still be harmful to your health, many patients have asked whether these additives are safe for our teeth.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne – Australia sought to answer that very question. They tested 23 different substances to determine their effect on dental health, from soft drinks to sports drinks and beyond.
In the end, the researchers found that sugar-free drinks “that contain acidic additives and those with low pH levels cause measurable damage to tooth enamel, even if they have no sugar.”
Eric Reynolds, a professor at Melbourne Dental School and CEO of Oral Health CRC, said, “Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion.”
How can you know which of these drinks might be harmful to your teeth? Researchers advised following these steps:
1 – Look for substances like citric acid and phosphoric acid in your food and drink. These chemicals are very acidic and damage your teeth.
2 – Rinse your mouth out with water immediately after eating.
3 – Chew sugarless gum after drinking sugar-free drinks. The presence of gum increases the amount of saliva in your mouth, which can neutralize the acid.
It’s always important to talk to your dentist about any food-related questions you might have. There are typically quite a few products on the market that claim to be “tooth-friendly” but can cause significant damage over a long period of time.
If you have any questions about your dental health or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.
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