Diet & Nutrition

Sugar-free but not necessarily cavity-free

Researchers find sugar-free options are still harming teeth

You may be doing your waistline a favour by choosing sugar-free diet soft drinks and lollies over their sugar-laden counterparts, but it turns out they’re not necessarily any better for your teeth.

Science Alert reports Eric Reynolds and fellow researchers at Melbourne University’s Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre tested a large range of soft drinks, sports drinks, and confectionary products, and found that the sugar-less versions can also wreak havoc on your dental health.

Testing 15 soft drinks (including three sugar-free brands) in extracted healthy human molars that were free of cavities, the findings suggest that despite claims otherwise, sugar-free products are still potentially harmful to teeth due to high levels of acids that strip away the surface layers of tooth enamel.

Sugar-free lollies were also found to be risky for teeth due to their levels of citric and other food acids for flavouring.

In terms of what you should drink in order to keep your teeth happy, the researchers suggest fluoridated tap water (bottled water doesn’t have the benefits of fluoride) and milk as good options.
They also recommend chewing sugar-free gum, as it stimulates saliva flow and can rinse away acids and re-harden softened enamel, and waiting an hour to clean your teeth after eating or drinking acidic products to prevent the removal of softened tooth enamel.

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