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Are Sugar Substitutes Safer than Sugar On Your Teeth?

Posted on 8/10/2016 by Nic Grasvik
A pile of xylitol a sugar substitute in a bowl.Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth. Millions and millions of organisms live in your mouth and, when placed in a high-sugar environment, they release acids as they digest the sugar.

These acids can attack the surfaces of your teeth, resulting in a higher likelihood of developing tooth decay.

So, avoiding sugar-or rinsing your mouth out after eating foods which are high in sugar-is a common sense approach to dental care. But what about using sugar substitutes? Are they safer on your teeth?

Two sides to the story. As with pretty much every other question relating to diet and health, there are two schools of thought on this. One school of thought is that because artificial sweeteners do not contain the same compounds as sugar, they do not fuel these organisms, so the organisms do not produce the elevated levels of acid, and thus your teeth are safe.

The other side of the argument is that the organisms in your mouth do not feed merely on sugar; rather, any elevated levels of certain types of carbohydrates-including the types used in many artificial sweeteners-will result in a higher level of acid in your mouth, leading to tooth decay. Who to believe? So what should you do?

Given the other health issues associated with both sugar and some artificial sweeteners, the best course of action is probably to consume these foods in moderation. In addition, after consuming any food or beverage containing sweeteners-whether artificial or not-it may be a good idea to rinse your mouth out so these compounds do not remain on your teeth, fueling the acid-releasing organisms.

Proper dental health relies on a number of factors and is not as simple as merely avoiding a certain type of sweetener. Regular dental hygiene practices, including rinsing your mouth out after eating or drinking, can greatly contribute to a healthy smile.

Please contact us if you have any questions about sugar substitutes effect on teeth.


Dr. Nicholas Grasvik
4690 SW Hall Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005


Easy to find in downtown Beaverton.
Lots of parking available

(503) 350-1234

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