• June 29, 2022

Today, more people are trying to find ways to live a healthier lifestyle while still enjoying some of their favorite snacks and beverages.  This has led to the development of several artificial sweetener products that promise to provide similar flavors while eliminating most of the health risks associated with sugar.  While the health risks to your diet need to be considered, we should not ignore any risk or benefits that artificial sweeteners may have on your oral health.

What are Artificial Sweeteners?

Traditionally foods and beverages were sweetened from plant sugars that had been refined to what we recognize today.  As medical research found, sugars played a roll in weight gain, diabetes, and tooth decay.  In the 20th century, chemists discovered was to develop sweeteners that seemed to mitigate the health risks traditional sugars created.  These include:

  • Saccharin (Sweet N Low).
  • Aspartame (Equal).
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Sweet One).
  • Sucralose (Splenda).
  • Advantame.
  • Neotame (Newtame).
  • Xylitol.

Sweeteners & Your Oral Health

When you eat or drink a lot of sugars, you may often see cavities follow.  While we may think this is a direct result of these sugars, it’s actually caused by bacteria.  Bacterial will thrive when you feed them, and may bacteria found in the mouth spread more rapidly when you provide them with sugar as a food source.  These bacteria will digest the sugars, multiply, and as a result digestion, release an acid in your mouth.  It is this acid that will breakdown the enamel on your teeth and cause tooth sensitivity.

What about Artificial Sweeteners?

The answer depends on the type of substitute.  If you are using a sweetener derived from sucralose (like Splenda) the bacteria found in your mouth will react similarly to sugar.  However, several artificial sweeteners were developed from sugar alcohols or herbs.  These types of sweeteners do not cause the bacteria to create acid, which will make them safer for your teeth.  

What Should You Do?

Regardless of what types of sweeteners you like, you should try to reduce use of any of them.  This will be beneficial for your overall health.  If you feel the need to add sweeteners to your diet, you should try to stick to sugar alcohol or herb-based sweeteners.  These will be the best options to protect your teeth.  

You also need to practice good oral care practices. Ensure you are brushing twice daily, floss, and use mouth wash.

Consult you dentist if you have questions or are facing tooth sensitivity.  If you are near Joliet IL, Schedule a visit with Shorewood Family Dental Care.  We can schedule you semiannual dental cleaning and evaluation.  Our dental staff can set up treatment plans if to address any of your oral health needs.  If you are concerned about how your sweetener choices are affecting your teeth, we can help review you options to help you maintain your oral health