How corrosive are sugar substitutes compared to natural sugars?
Over the last century we have discovered the harmful effect sugars have on our teeth. Sugar becomes very corrosive to enamel as bacteria and saliva combine to release an acid that rapidly corrodes our teeth. Acids are what breaks down tooth enamel that causes cavities and other oral health problems.
Many sugar substitutes have therefore been introduced along with the idea that sugar substitutes are also healthier than natural processed sugar. The truth, low-calorie sweeteners do not have the same effect on our teeth as natural processes sugars. In fact, some sweeteners have antibacterial properties.
In some cases Xylitol is used as the enhancing sweetener which actually aids in tooth health. Xylitol is naturally found in low concentrations in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables. Studies show that xylitol had reduced side effects compared to other artificial sweeteners. Early studies from Finland in the 1970s found that chewing xylitol gum resulted in nearly two fewer cavities or missing teeth than regular sucrose flavored gum.
Some of these substitutes such as Xylitol are known as sugar alcohols. This is due to the process in which they are derived. Since these sugars are not broken down by oral bacteria, they do not add to the cause of oral decay and cavities.
This information becomes very important as parents try to find healthier habit for their children who have sweet tooth's. Once a child has sampled sugar, it is hard for them to want anything else.
For any other questions about Oral Health please call Dr. Patrick Wilson at (603) 343-1228 or stop on by Great Outdoor Pediatric Dentistry and say hello at:
6 Old Rochester Road #301
Dover, NH 03820