Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. In an effort to combat obesity, companies are manufacturing products that are sweetened with sugar alternatives and are often calorie-free. They are marketed under many brand names, Coke and Pepsi are just a few, but these sugar substitutes are terrible for your teeth. You probably never thought that switching to sugar-free and calorie free drinks would hurt you, but it’s time to shed some light on these substitutes for what they really are: unhealthy.
One Can of Soda Can Cause Permanent Damage
The University of Melbourne conducted a study to show that sugar-free foods and drinks can cause just as much damage to the tooth’s enamel as those drinks with sugar. The study revealed shocking results. A can of diet soda will soften the enamel on a tooth by up to 50 percent. Researchers couldn’t believe that something that was supposed to be healthier for you was actually doing this much damage.
To back their theory, they tested 23 different kinds of sodas. They looked at energy drinks and various named sugar-free sodas. What they found was that it didn’t really matter if the drink had a low-calorie substitute or regular sugar: they all eroded the teeth and left them at a higher risk for tooth decay. Their findings blew away the theory that using sugar substitutes reduces the risk of tooth decay.
How Sugar-Free Drinks Damage Your Teeth
At Dr. Chris Mott’s office, we try to teach our patients that sugar-filled and sugar-free drinks are bad for your physical and oral health. The bacterium inside your mouth feeds off sugars and creates acid. These acids then cause permanent damage to the teeth through the erosion process.
Erosion occurs when acids in your mouth dissolve the hard tissues on the tooth’s surface. Slowly, these acids strip away the tooth’s enamel. As the acid progresses into the tooth, it eventually reaches the pulp on the inside. But which types of acids are guilty of destroying your teeth?
The main culprits are citric and phosphoric acid. Reading the labels on all of your food and drink purchases can save your teeth from damage in the future.
How You Can Avoid Tooth Destruction
Avoiding foods like candy and lollipops, even in the sugar-free form, is best. Even if the package implies that there is no sugar and that the product is healthier for you, you should avoid it as best you can. Many chewing gum companies will market their product as “dentally safe”, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Anything with a high citric acid level has the potential to cause permanent damage, so be sure to read the labels of the things you are putting into your mouth.
Don’t Believe It? Ask Your Dentist.
If you want a healthy smile, Dr. Chris Mott’s local Shreveport dentist office, advises that you limit your intake of acidic foods and drinks. If you do choose to indulge in these items, swish some tap water into the mouth to help harden the enamel. To avoid damage when you brush your teeth, be sure rinse your mouth with tap water prior to picking up your toothbrush.
If you don’t believe that sugar-free drinks and foods are just as bad for you, just call your local Shreveport dentist, Dr. Chris A. Mott, and hear what he has to say.