Visiting an emergency dentist while pregnant can seem quite frightening, but dental accidents do happen and they are unpredictable. Thankfully, emergency dentists exist and they can help treat any dental emergency that arises. Being pregnant and experiencing a dental emergency at the same time can cause a great deal of anxiety, but emergency dentists are equipped…
Ask a Family Dentist: Are Sugar Substitutes Good for Teeth?
Any family dentist will warn you of the dangers of sugar for teeth. Too much sugar can bring a host of issues for your general health in addition to problems in oral health. For your mouth, sugar can mean tooth decay, cavities and even disease.
Sugar substitutes flood the market in an effort to fight the common health problems caused by sugar, but are these any better for your teeth? Here, a family dentist weighs in on the effects of sugar substitutes on tooth health.
Sugar’s effect on teeth
Excess sugar can be harmful to teeth. Consuming too much sugar without precaution can lead to enamel erosion, cavities or tooth decay.
How sugar harms teeth
Mouths are filled with bacteria. While many bacteria are useful and essential to wellbeing, there are some bacteria present that can be bad for oral health. Sugar can exacerbate the issue because the bacteria are drawn to sugars. According to the ADA, bacteria will break down sugar and produce acid, which is harmful to tooth enamel.
How sugar substitutes affect teeth
While sugar can be harmful to teeth, certain sugar substitutes provide many benefits for oral health. However, substitutes like honey or maple syrup will have the same effects as sugar, so use caution when choosing a sugar substitute.
Whereas sugar attracts bad bacteria, some sugar substitutes, such as polyols, have antibacterial properties. According to The New York Times, many polyols cannot be broken down by bacteria like sugar can be. As a result, the bacteria cannot produce the acid that leads to the wear and tear of tooth enamel.
However, a study in the British Dental Journal found that if polyol-containing products also contain acidic flavoring, there is still a risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay. Consume with care and in moderation.
Sugar substitutes, particularly artificial sweeteners, have a questionable reputation when it comes to overall health. For instance, although cyclamate, a type of artificial sweetener, has been linked to bladder cancer, the connection of other artificial sweeteners is not definitive. The National Cancer Institute says that there is not clear evidence that many sweeteners are linked to cancer in humans. There are multiple studies that have found a connection between artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame to cancer in rats, but mechanistic studies have found this applies only to rats, not humans.
Be sure to talk to your doctor and family dentist to choose the best sweetener option for you.
Both sugar and sugar substitutes have their own downfalls, but sugar substitutes can have various benefits for oral health. Either way, consume added sweeteners with moderation and stick to a healthy diet of whole foods for the best oral and overall health. If you have a sweet tooth that you just need to satisfy, be sure to get advice from your family dentist on the best sugar substitute for you.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Family Dentist.
Do you know when to visit an emergency dentist instead of your regular care provider? In the event of a dental emergency, seeing your regular dentist may come at a high cost.Many dentists are not available on an emergency basis after hours. While most injuries can wait a day or so, there are some that…
Do you want some more information on the side effects of teeth grinding?If you suffer from teeth grinding, also known as teeth clenching and bruxism, then you need to learn more about the harmful effects of this condition. It is especially true if you think you are now starting to experience some of the many…
There is only so much that an individual can do to prepare for a dental emergency. No matter what preventative measures one takes, there is always the chance of an accident damaging the teeth. In other cases, an infection can suddenly cause incredible pain in certain teeth and require emergency treatment. If someone falls and…