Does Sugar-Free Translate into Fewer Cavities?


sugar free soda houston texas | royal dental usaMost people grew up thinking that sugar was the main cause of cavities. As a result, we have seen a shift in certain habits, such as soda-drinking and the consumption of certain sweets. It would seem logical that choosing a diet soda or other sugar-free beverage (other than water) over sugar-laden beverages would translate into fewer cavities, as would eating sugar-free candies instead of common choices. According to research, this isn’t necessarily true.

Sugar-free Soda

The development of sugar-free beverages has been viewed as a major step-forward in the food industry. Who doesn’t love the idea of enjoying a fizzy, tasty soda without the consequences of added calories? Also, because diet sodas and other diet beverages are sweetened with sugar alternatives, they must be better for teeth, right? Not so fast.

Some of the main ingredients in sugar-free beverages are acidic in nature. Substances such as citric acid are just as hazardous to oral health as sugar. Coupled with carbonation, acidic ingredients can lead not only to cavities, but to all-over erosion. Just like consuming regular soda and beverages, it is advantageous to brush or rinse after sugar-free options.

What about Sugar-free Candy?

Sugar-free candies are not only for diabetics. Many people who are on low-carb diets or otherwise trying to limit sugar intake may reach for these seemingly “healthier” options when craving a sweet treat. The problem is that sugar-free candies are, like diet sodas, often sweetened with ingredients that are overly acidic.

Consuming food products that are lower in sugar or sugar-free may be a choice made first for the lower calorie count. Avoiding sugar is a recommendation made by most nutritionists and weight-loss experts. However, there are other reasons to avoid sugar, such as cavity prevention; and when you look at this goal, it is also important to understand why.

The reason that sugar causes cavities is because it feeds bacteria, which deposit acid onto enamel. This acid weakens the outer layer of teeth, and leads to cavities. So, switching sugar for other acidic ingredients does nothing to protect teeth and oral health as a whole. Whether sugar or sugar-free, brushing or rinsing should be done if you want to avoid cavities.

For the utmost protection, see your dentist regularly! Schedule a visit with the Royal Dental team at (713) 330-7700.

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