Ask a Family Dentist: Are Sugar Substitutes Good for Teeth?

Your family dentist has likely told you to lay off the sugar. After all, sugar tends to cause cavities, and your dentist wants you to maintain a healthy smile. Now, you cannot help but wonder if you should consume sugar substitutes. Get the details on sugar substitutes.

Sugar substitutes in candies

Sweet treats are available without the sugar, and many people pick them up to protect their waistlines and their teeth. While some sugar-free candies are OK to consume, others contain citric acid. This acid damages the enamel on the teeth. A family dentist would recommend staying away from these candies.

Diet sodas and teeth

Sugary drinks are not the only cause for concern when it comes to teeth. Diet sodas can also do serious damage. Diet sodas contain tartaric acid, citric acid and phosphoric acid, all of which are harmful to teeth.

Dental erosion and diet sodas

The dental erosion caused by diet sodas is comparable to the erosion caused by regular sodas. Both have the power to dissolve tooth enamel, which leads to decay.

The solution

Dentists recommend water for drinking. It does not stain, and it washes away bacteria. Black coffee and tea are also options, although both stain teeth. Drink water after consuming tea or coffee to reduce the chances of staining.

Sugar-free gum

Chewing sugar-free gum is a good habit to adopt. The sugar substitutes in the gum do not promote cavities, and chewing the gum can actually remove bacteria and acid from the surface of the teeth. In addition, chewing gum promotes the production of saliva, which further washes the teeth.

When to chew gum

People can chew sugar-free gum at any time. However, it is a good idea to keep a stick or two around to chew after meals when brushing is not possible. Chewing the gum might not be as good as brushing, but it is very helpful.

Adding sugar substitutes to food and drinks

While store-bought items with sugar substitutes typically damage the teeth, the same is not true when people add sugar substitutes to food and beverages at home. For instance, adding a sweetener to a black coffee or using it in a treat is preferable to consuming sugar.

Why is it preferable to use sugar substitutes?

Store-bought sweet treats and diet sodas have other ingredients that are damaging to the teeth. The problem is not with the sweetener but with the other ingredients. Making food items at home and watching every ingredient are helpful in protecting the teeth. Avoid dangerous ingredients when preparing food and drinks at home, though.

The bottom line

While artificial sweeteners are not harmful to teeth, they are often used with ingredients that are. Avoid diet sodas and treats with sweeteners, but chew sugar-free gum. Also, do not be afraid to add artificial sweeteners to your home-baked goods and drinks. Your family dentist will notice you have given up sugar and replaced it with something healthier.

Request an appointment here: or call Galleria Dental Arts at (703) 368-9777 for an appointment in our Manassas office.

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