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Are Sugar-Free Foods Good For Your Teeth? Not So Fast…

January 2015

There’s no question that chewing sugary candy and gum wages quite an assault on your teeth. The sugar combines with the bacteria in your mouth and forms acid, providing the ideal environment for cavities to form. But what about sugar-free foods? Are they good for your teeth?

Not necessarily.

Remember, Cheetos are low in sugar content -- that doesn’t make them a health food! Sugar-free foods can be a preferable alternative to sugary foods, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to eat them with reckless abandon. It’s true that sugar-free products do not promote tooth decay, and, in fact, can actually help to prevent cavities. Xylitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, has been found to help fight tooth decay. Some research has shown that xylitol can inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the oral bacteria that cause cavities.

But beware - sugar-free foods can actually cause other dental problems. Many sugar-free products often contain preservatives and flavors that are highly acidic, thus contributing to erosion of your teeth. Diet soda (just like regular soda) also contains phosphorous and carbonation, which wear away the enamel on your teeth.

So it is true that advertisers can accurately say that sugar-free foods do not cause tooth decay. They could also accurately say their products don’t cause blindness or leprosy…it still does not mean they are healthy for your teeth, and may actually contribute to enamel erosion!

Overall, it’s probably a good idea to swap out sugared gum with a sugar-free alternative. But don’t assume that “sugar-free” means tooth friendly! And let’s face it – it’s tough to go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of water, and brushing after every meal and snack!

At Fine Dentistry by Design, we care about your health! If you have any questions about this or any other dental issues, or would like to make an appointment for a dental exam, cleaning, or consultation, please give us a call at 301-984-2200. We are here for you!