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Here’s Some Not-So-Sweet News: Sugar-Free Drinks Can Damage Your Teeth

It’s well known that sugar-filled sodas, sports drinks, and juices can be bad for your teeth. Now, a new study shows that although diet sodas have benefits like being a calorie-free alternative that can help with weight control and can also potentially benefit those who need to control their blood sugar levels, such as people with diabetes – sugar-free sodas share some of the great risks for your teeth as their sugary counterparts.

Why Avoid Sugar-Free Drinks

Sugar can cause damage to teeth when it is fermented in the mouth and produces acid. In sugar-free drinks, phosphorous and citric acid can wear away the enamel of teeth. And although sugar-free drinks will not lead directly to cavities, the weakening of enamel can cause a host of problems. Teeth may become more sensitive to hot and cold. They may stain and are more likely to chip or break.

So, what should people drink? Good old tap water, especially if the water is fluoridated. The fluoride can help to harden teeth and protect them against decay. Most bottled waters do not contain fluoride, and we really shouldn’t be using that much plastic anyway.

If you do enjoy a sugar-free, flavored beverage avoid brushing your teeth right away. The acids in the drink will weaken the enamel in your teeth and brushing could remove it. The best thing to do is rinse your mouth out with water and then brush about an hour later.

While researchers found that sugar-free candy can have a similar impact on tooth enamel, they did not find sugar-free gum to cause problems. Sugar-free gum is great for tooth health, especially if it contains xylitol. Chewing gum also stimulates saliva, which can rinse away acids and bacteria in the mouth that may cause problems.

How To Keep Your Teeth Healthy

If you suffer from erosion of your teeth’s enamel, the damage can’t grow back, but you can take measures to prevent further erosion and preserve your smile. For example, your dentist can put a filling over the damaged surface to help protect against continued wear.

Regular check-ups with your dentist can also help you monitor the site of the tooth wear and keep track if it worsens. This can help prevent the extra pain in your mouth and wallet if the situation continues unmonitored. A Dental Plan from ASBA is a great way to keep the cost of dental care under control. These Dental Plans can save you on routine cleanings and fillings, crowns, and more. Sign up for the plan that’s right for you.

Source: https://www.oralhealthcrc.org.au/sites/default/files/Dental%20Erosion%20Briefing%20Paper_FINAL2015.pdf