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Are Sugar Substitutes Just as Bad as Sugar?

choose-tap-water-february-national-childens-dental-monthHave you ever been pouring a packet of stevia or artificial sweetener into your coffee or tea, only to wonder if those awfully sugar-like crystals could be impacting your teeth in the same way that sugar goes?

You’re not alone. There are plenty of theories out there about artificial sweeteners, from the assertion that they actually contribute to weight gain to (unverified) rumors that they can lead to some pretty scary problems – one thing dentists (like ours in Garden Grove) can say for certain is that these artificial sweeteners surely don’t affect teeth in the same way that regular sugar does.

First of all, it’s worth noting that sugar itself isn’t responsible for decays and cavities. Actually, it’s the acids that the bacterias in your mouth extract out of sugar (which can also be found in many other compounds) that contribute to enamel decay, cavities, and – ultimately – worse. Unlike sugar, sugar substitutes tend to not provide bacteria with this essential “nutrient”.

In a New York Times report, we also learn that the news is even better. Not only can artificial sweeteners help you cut down on calories – but some of them (polyols specifically) even have some anti-microbial properties to help your mouth actually fight against bad bacteria.

Knowledge such as this has encouraged dentists in Garden Grove and around the world to begin going so far as to actually recommend that patients chew gum with sugar alternatives in it to deliver benefits ranging from increased saliva flow to the presence of valuable antimicrobials that could help contribute to a more healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth.

Could sugar be undermining your teeth? Our dentists in Garden Grove are here to help. Contact us today to learn how you might be able to bounce back from a lifetime of too many sweets and too little brushing. 

 

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