Looking for a sweet escape? Interested in just desserts? Most of us crave sugar every once in a while, and when eaten in moderation, a little treat here and there isn’t so bad for your diet or your oral health. But unfortunately, regular or frequent sugar consumption can really wreak havoc on your waistline and your mouth. That’s why doctors and dentists recommend you limit your sugar intake, and when you do indulge, to be sure to care for your teeth and gums afterwards to prevent cavities and gum disease.
But for those who crave sweetness more than just once in a while, there are thankfully some solutions to satisfy your sugar cravings without actually using sugar. Sugar substitutes have been around for decades, and not only satiate your appetite for sugar, they can even help improve your oral health!
There are many types of artificial sweeteners, including:
- Acesulfame Potassium
Furthermore, there are artificial “sugar alcohols” which can be used as sugar substitutes. They are:
These synthetic sugar substitutes contain no sugar, and have no calories, and are popular with diabetic patients, those on low-carb diets, and everyday people looking to maintain a healthy weight and healthy smile.
So, how exactly do sugar substitutes improve your oral health? It’s pretty interesting, actually.
Take for example xylitol. Xylitol helps improve your oral health by restricting the growth of the Streptococcus Mutans (S. Mutans) bacteria that cause cavities. With continued use, the quality of the S. Mutans in your mouth begin to degrade, and they begin to die off. The mouth eventually becomes an inhospitable environment for them, and thus there are less of them to cause cavities or other oral health issues.
Other benefits to artificial sweeteners include added fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, which are all important elements to a healthy diet.
If you’re not keen on swapping out sugar for artificial sweeteners in your desserts, you can still benefit from their health benefits by doing things like chewing sugarless gum or consuming xylitol flavored candies. Chewing gum neutralizes plaque acid in the mouth by generating saliva, which in turn lowers your risk of cavities and gum disease. That, and a healthy diet, consistent oral health routine, and regular visits to Dr. Abelar can all contribute to a healthier mouth!