Whether it's a sweet coffee drink, piece of candy or gum, people young and old enjoy a sugary treat. Most people also understand the damage that an excessive amount of sugar can cause to their teeth. Consequently, many people have transitioned towards sugar-free options as a healthier alternative. Did you know that this alternative can actually damage your teeth? While you might believe you're making a better choice for your oral health, you might still be putting the health of your mouth, teeth and gums at risk.
The Truth About Sugar-free
Tooth erosion is a process where the enamel on your teeth begins to wear away at an increased rate. When this condition is left untreated, it basically dissolves the structure of your teeth. Sugar-free food choices can actually put you at a greater risk for tooth erosion. Just because the selection is sugar-free doesn't mean that it doesn't contain ingredients that can still lead to damage. The problem is not the absence of sugar, but rather the additional ingredients used to add the flavor that sugar generally does.
Many sugar-free options include preservatives and acid flavorings that are actually just as harmful to your teeth as sugar. These additions linger on your teeth, slowly breaking down your enamel, just like sugar. Fortunately, this isn't the case for all sugar-free options. When looking for selections, look for options that are sweetened by non-erosion causing sweeteners, like mannitol, sorbitol or aspartame.
What You Should Do
Finding sugar-free foods that don't contain harmful additives is important. However, a more practical way to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy is to transition to a healthy, low sugar diet. Following a low sugar diet keeps your sugar content low, so there is less of a need to look for sugar alternatives.
On a low sugar diet, you will steer clear of table sugar and look for more natural sweeteners. Stevia, Agave syrup and coconut sugar are just some of the natural options you can use. When used in moderation, these options can satisfy your sugar cravings without putting your oral health at risk.
Protecting your smile begins with you. As always, make certain you are brushing your teeth regularly to remove any left behind particles, keeping your teeth healthier and cleaner. If you're concerned about what options are best for you, make certain you speak with your dental care provider to ask questions.
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