We all want to look and feel our very best, and cutting sugar out of your diet may seem like a great start. However, if you’re exchanging sugar-filled snacks for sugar free options, you may not be doing your oral health any favors. In fact, sugar substitutes can lead to just as much tooth decay and plaque buildup as real sugar. Maintaining an adequate preventive dentistry routine will help limit the impact of sugar and artificial sweeteners on your oral health, but consuming large amounts of so called “sugar free” products can become a real problem for your smile.
What Does Sugar Free Mean?
This label doesn’t actually mean that there aren’t sugary substances in the foods and drinks. It just means a type of sweetener that breaks down differently in the body is used. Stevia, Splenda, and other sweetening agents are substituted for sugar. The body processes these differently, but unfortunately, your teeth don’t. Artificial sweeteners can still lead to the production of sticky, acidic plaque that can wear away at tooth enamel.
How Do Sugar Free Foods & Drinks Effect Your Smile?
Every mouth contains thousands of living bacteria. They serve an important purpose in the digestion process, but they can also wreak havoc. When you consume sugar free foods and drinks, the sugar substitutes are broken down by bacteria that then excrete highly acidic, tooth decay-causing plaque. Sugary (even artificially sweetened) and acidic foods and beverages lead to the production of more acidic plaque than other foods with a lower acidity. This means your saliva will not likely be able to neutralize the plaque, which will then attach to tooth enamel and weaken dental structures over time.
How Can You Protect Your Teeth & Keep Your Diet?
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop consuming sugar free foods and drinks altogether. Instead, we recommend a three step plan:
- Consume these products in moderation as part of your well rounded diet.
- Don’t snack on sugar free foods or sip diet drinks throughout the day. Instead, consume the products within about ½ hour and rinse your mouth with water. The longer these sugars are in the mouth the more likely they are to damage teeth.
- Brush and floss your teeth daily and visit a general dentist twice a year for dental checkups and teeth cleanings to promote the optimal level of oral health.
Meet the Sage Dental Care Team
At Sage Dental Care, your dedicated North Reno dentists and team offer a wide range of dentistry services that repair or enhance your smile. However, our goal is always to help you keep your natural smile healthy. That’s why we focus dental care plans on prevention. If you want to learn more about how to keep your smile whole and healthy for life, call us to schedule your first dental examination and teeth cleaning. At regular dental checkups, we’ll partner with you to achieve and maintain your healthiest smile for a lifetime.