It’s well known that sugar causes tooth decay, and avoiding it is the best thing you can do for your pearly whites – along with regular brushing and flossing. Looking at statistics, however, it seems that most of us talk the talk rather than walk the walk. According to the World Health Organization, untreated cavities are the most common health complaint around the world and in the US alone – more than a quarter of adults older than 30 have untreated cavities. Even with advancements in dentistry, cavities remain a major issue. Patients tend to ignore their root causes and only address them when they become detrimental to their quality of life.
Misconceptions About “Diet” And Sugar-Free Drinks
We all know that sugar free drinks can lead to cavities. However, a lesser-known fact is that many sugar-free drinks can be just as detrimental. All brands of sugar-free sodas and diet drinks can and do have an impact on your dental health due to their chemical composition. They might be free from sugar, but research has shown that the high acidity of these drinks actually eats away at your enamel. Fruit juices, which are often thought of as healthier than carbonated drinks, are also not as benign as they seem. Not only are they high in sugar (fructose) but can also contain high levels of citric acid.
What Do The Experts Say?
Studies by the University of Melbourne and the University of Michigan have added even more evidence that shows any carbonated drinks, with or without sugar, can do significant damage to teeth. There are ways to limit this, though. One piece of advice from many dentists is to avoid sipping on soft drinks (sugar free and otherwise) throughout the day, as this leads to constant exposure to acids that break down tooth enamel. Other options are using a straw, rinsing your mouth out and not brushing your teeth directly after drinking soft drinks.
Stephanie N. Vlahos, a General Dentist Salem VA, recommends analyzing your diet to see if what you’re eating or drinking is inadvertently exacerbating cavity formation. J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, a dental researcher, also advised people to limit their soda-drinking to mealtimes. While Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, advises people to swallow fizzy drinks quickly rather than swishing them around your mouth.
It’s evident that sugar isn’t the only factor in tooth decay. Brushing and flossing are without a doubt the best way to take care of your dental health, but to avoid cavities and enamel erosion you need to become aware of the hidden culprits, such as acid levels disguised in “diet” and sugar-free drinks.