Ask a Dentist

April 21, 2023

Q: Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For Your Teeth?

Various types of artificial sweeteners in a tiny glass cup

Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can increase the risk of tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth breaks the sugar down into acid which combines with saliva and food, creating plaque. Plaque sticks to your teeth and wears away your tooth enamel.

Due to this, you may consider using artificial sweeteners in your morning coffee or tea instead. Before making this switch, you should know how artificial sweeteners compare to sugar in terms of oral health. 

Difference Between Sugar And Artificial Sweeteners

Sweeteners allow you to add sweetness to your drink without the calories of sugar. Artificial sweeteners are used in products like toothpaste, chewing gum and many medications, especially those intended for children. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners are considered non-cariogenic, meaning they don't produce any acid that contributes to tooth decay. Not only that, they may work in your favour and fight against the oral problem as well.

When you consume foods or drinks containing sugar, the pH in your mouth drops due to acidity. Artificial sweeteners seem to create the opposite outcome because of their anti-cariogenic effect. It can help to balance your salivary pH and reduce the amount of decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.

They also provide benefits to diabetics, as they aren’t metabolized into glucose in the body. This means they don’t cause a rise in blood sugar which allows diabetics to satisfy their sugar cravings while still managing their blood glucose.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For You?

Artificial sweeteners can provide some benefits to your oral health. But should you swap out food and drinks containing added sugar with this? Although cutting out sugar is good for you, you shouldn't add artificial sweeteners to every consumable. 

Harvard Medical School notes that when you trade a sugar-filled soda with a diet one, you’re simply replacing a nutritionally questionable drink with another. Diet soda won’t give you extra calories, but it won't deliver the nutrition your body needs either.

If you’re concerned with how your diet affects your oral health, feel free to visit Dental Image Therapy Centres to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your oral health and oral care routine. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing regularly and seeing your dentist every six months for a cleaning appointment will help minimize your risk of tooth decay, whether you continue consuming your regular amount of sugar or not. Locate us at one of our two convenient Winnipeg locations at St. Vital Centre or Garden City Shopping Centre.

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