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.

Antibacterial properties

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.

General health

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.

Conclusion

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.

Request an appointment here: https://www.pacificcoastdentistry.com or call Pacific Coast Dentistry at (805) 205-9299 for an appointment in our Paso Robles office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Family Dentist.

Recent Posts

Dental Care Tips From An Emergency Dentist

Wondering how important an emergency dentist is when you are experiencing a dental emergency? They can mean the difference between you losing a tooth and saving a tooth.A dentist who decides to offer their patients emergency dental services is a dentist who understands the importance of immediate dental care. It will simply depend on the…

Root Canal Treatment Versus Tooth Extraction

If your tooth is severely infected or damaged, your dentist might recommend a root canal treatment or an extraction. In many cases, you can choose between the procedures. However, an extraction is sometimes the only viable option. Learn more about both procedures to understand what to expect and which one to choose.During a root canal…

4 Options For Non-Surgical Cosmetic Dentistry Services

Cosmetic dentistry procedures help people improve the appearance of their teeth and boost their self-confidence. However, there are some procedures that require the patient to undergo surgery. For those who would rather not go under the knife, there are other non-surgical treatment options to choose from.As the name suggests, non-surgical treatments are non-invasive treatments that…

What To Know About The Dental Crown Process

A dental crown is a protective cap a dentist places on the tooth to either mask physical impairments and improve its aesthetics or protect and restore the tooth’s function after significant structural damages. The process of getting a dental crown is simple, but there may be certain adjustments based on the patient’s preferences.Before getting a…

Recent Posts

Root Canal Treatment Versus Tooth Extraction

Root Canal Treatment Versus Tooth Extraction

If your tooth is severely infected or damaged, your dentist might recommend a root canal treatment or an extraction. In many cases, you can choose between the procedures. However, an extraction is sometimes the only viable option. Learn more about both procedures to understand what to expect and which one to choose.During a root canal…

Options For Non Surgical Cosmetic Dentistry Services

4 Options For Non-Surgical Cosmetic Dentistry Services

Cosmetic dentistry procedures help people improve the appearance of their teeth and boost their self-confidence. However, there are some procedures that require the patient to undergo surgery. For those who would rather not go under the knife, there are other non-surgical treatment options to choose from.As the name suggests, non-surgical treatments are non-invasive treatments that…