“Sugar-Free” Can Be Costly to Teeth
New research from the University of Melbourne has dispelled the common misconception that sugar-free products cause little to no damage to our teeth. While it is well-known that high sugar consumption can increase the risk of dental caries, many people are unaware that some sugar-free foods and drinks contain chemical additives that can wear away tooth enamel.
After testing 23 different drinks, researchers discovered that drinks that contain acidic additives and low pH levels (a measure of acidity) can significantly harm dental enamel by dissolving the hard tissue of the tooth, regardless if the drink is sugar-free. In fact, the majority of soft drinks and sports drinks on the market today can soften tooth enamel by 30%-50% and even flavored mineral waters can cause tooth surface loss.
It’s also important to be cautious of purchasing confectionary products labeled as “sugar-free” or “tooth-friendly,” as testing has shown that even these products can still be erosive and unsafe for teeth.
Until there are stricter product labeling regulations in place, here are some recommendations to help you protect your teeth:
- Always check product labels for acidic additives, such as citric acid and phosphoric acid.
- Drink more water (preferably fluoridated) and fewer soft drinks, sports drinks and flavored mineral waters.
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after consuming acidic food and drinks as this can remove softened enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with water after consumption and wait an hour before brushing your teeth.