Dental Tips Blog

Jan
29

Are Sugar-Free Drinks Better for My Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

If sugar is bad for your teeth, than are sugar-free diet sodas and drinks healthier to drink than those with sugar in them? A lot of people say they are, but is that the truth or just a common misconception? Believe it or not, diet drinks with artificial sweeteners in them can be just as bad on your tooth enamel as those that have pure sugar. That includes drinks like sports drinks and juice.

When a sweet or acidic drink is consumed, the pH in saliva drops significantly. Acid byproducts are secreted as sugars are broken down in the mouth, and these acids distribute themselves across the surfaces of teeth throughout the mouth. The acids cause tooth enamel to begin to demineralize, especially in areas between the teeth or in deep crevices in the chewing surfaces of molars.  Even milk, orange juice and organic fruit juices contain natural sugars that can encourage tooth decay if the exposure is frequent enough.

It’s not a horrible thing to enjoy a soda or sports drink from time to time, but consuming them multiple times a day on a frequent basis will ultimately lead to advanced demineralization and tooth decay. To avoid the need for fillings and other dental work,  restrict these drinks to mealtime, so that other foods can neutralize the pH in the mouth. Stick to water between meals, as it has natural cleansing properties that encourage healthier teeth. If you do want to enjoy a soda, have it all drunk within a relatively short time frame. Sipping on it for several hours will simply lengthen the time that acids are active inside of your mouth, doing more damage than if you were to drink it all at once.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Mansouri, Lawrenceville Family Dental Care, P.C.

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Oct
9

The Pros and Cons of Chewing Gum

Humans have been chewing gum for at thousands of years. The most common reason people have chewed gum over the years is for halitosis (bad breath). A flavorful lunch of onions and spices may have tasted good, but your co-workers and family may not appreciate its after-effects for the rest of the day! While millions of people chew gum each day after meals, there are pros and cons to gum chewing.

Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has been clinically proven to reduce cavities and plaque. Dentists often encourage their patients to chew sugar-free gum with xylitol after meals to help break down the bacteria that are left in the mouth. Chewing gum with xylitol promotes saliva production, which helps to prevent plaque from bonding to tooth enamel. Fewer cavities means fewer dental fillings and less plaque can help prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

A negative for sugar-free gum is that it is most often sweetened with aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been the subject of medical controversies and must be avoided by people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria. If you choose to chew sugar-free gum with aspartame, you need to understand your medical history and the effects that aspartame will have.

While chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial to most people, those with jaw pain or TMJ should avoid chewing gum. The repeated chewing motion for long lengths of time can cause TMJ and any jaw pain to become worse.

Chewing gum should never replace good dental hygiene. Just because you chewed gum after a meal does not mean that you don’t need to brush and floss your teeth! Chewing gum can only promote good dental care when good hygiene is already in place.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Mansouri, Lawrenceville Family Dental Care, P.C.

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