As you become more aware of your dental health, you may be avoiding sugary beverages and chewable treats. And that’s great! You are doing your part to prevent dental cavities (not to mention diabetes and obesity).
But while sugar-free options in your soda, tea, lozenges and chewing gum don’t necessarily cause cavities, they may have an impact on your oral health because of other things they contain in lieu of sugar.
A study done by the Oral Health Cooperative Research Center at the University of Melbourne found that sugar-free drinks contain acidic additives, which means they are low pH and recognized as damaging to tooth enamel. When acid dissolves the hard tissues of the teeth the result is dental erosion. If enough of the tooth enamel is allowed to erode, it can expose the soft parts within the tooth, which causes tooth sensitivity and pain.
Soft drinks and sports drinks were also found to result in the dental enamel softening by anywhere from 30-50 percent. Out of eight sports drinks, six caused loss of dental enamel and the two which did not were fortified with calcium.
Lozenges that are sucked on can have a demineralization effect on your teeth because lozenges typically end up sitting in one area for long periods of time and you get a very concentrated buildup of acid.
On the bright side, as far as chewing sugar-free gum, it actually stimulates saliva production which reduces plaque acid. This strengthens teeth and cuts down on tooth decay.
The bottom line is: do the best you can to eat as healthy as possible while enjoying life, take good care of your pearly whites with your daily brushing and flossing routine, and see your dentist twice a year for those deep dental cleanings.
Please call us at 708.469.6006 if you have any concerns about your oral health and together we will keep you smiling for a lifetime!