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Why “Sugar-Free” May Not Always Mean Better for Your Teeth

To keep cavities from forming in your teeth, you may chose to avoid sugary sodas. And when you do want a sweet treat, you opt for a sugar-free confection or beverage so your teeth stay healthy.

But are sugar-free treats really better for your teeth? Not necessarily, according to a study conducted by Australian researchers.

Sugar-FreeThe 2015 study found some sugar-free beverages can cause significant damage to your teeth. Conducted at the University of Melbourne, the research team found that sugar-free products can strip away the tooth’s enamel.

Called erosion, it’s a direct result of the phosphoric and citric acids commonly found in these types of beverages. While erosion doesn’t lead directly to cavities, it can damage that could require teeth crowns or veneers. Dental problems can include:

  • chalkiness on the tooth’s surface
  • pitting
  • opacity or translucence
  • tooth sensitivity

Among the beverages tested, sodas contained the highest levels of acidity. Sports drinks came in second. Here are some other interesting facts from the study:

  • The majority of sodas and sports drinks caused dental enamel to soften by 30 to 50 percent.
  • Drinks that contained sugar as well as sugar-free drinks resulted in a measurable loss of tooth surface.
  • Of the eight sports drinks tested, six caused the loss of dental enamel. The two that didn’t contained higher levels of calcium.

What Does This Mean for You?

When it comes to selecting a beverage, opt for the most basic choice: water. Fluoridated water is the best choice to keep your teeth in good health. However, if you must drink or eat an acidic product, be sure to rinse your mouth with water but don’t brush immediately. Wait about an hour before you brush to avoid brushing away the softened tooth enamel.

Don’t forget to come in for regular dental exams and cleanings with a dentist in St Petersburg FL. If you need to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 727-498-1959 or use the contact form on our website.