Every time we go to the dentist, we hear that we need to cut down on sugar as it is main cause of tooth cavity, so why not substitute that coke for a coke zero? Sounds like an easy solution, but unfortunately like most things it’s not that easy. Yes, artificial sugars will not be feeding the bacteria in your mouth, so in that sense it can’t decay the enamel (outer surface of your teeth) as quickly. Read about preventing tooth cavities here.
However, there is a dark side to these artificial sweeteners and that is the acidity associated with them. Artificial sweeteners are often found to be associated with acidic additives in the beverages such as Coke Zero.
But why is acid so bad? Well at neutral physiological pH, the enamel of our teeth remains stable. But, when the pH drops to an acidic environment, this causes mineral loss and erosion of the enamel resulting in wear and tooth cavity. Prolonged acid exposure can even result in tooth LOSS.
Now you are all thinking, “That’s it. If I see sugar-free, I don’t want it!!” Well, actually that isn’t always the case. Sugar-free gum does not have these additives. In fact, sugar-free gum even stimulates your saliva which means you will avoid further tooth cavity. Increased saliva flow will help wash away the harmful bacteria trying to degrade your teeth as well as neutralise the pH allowing the enamel to re-harden and stay strong.
Unfortunately sugar-free beverages and snacks aren’t helping you avoid dental decay, but that doesn’t mean they have no health benefits. If you are battling with weight loss or diabetes, these are great alternatives. As for the rest of us, we should read labels more careful and limit the consumption on sugary acidic foods and drinks in our diet to keep our dental health pristine. My best suggestion is to stay informed on your dietary choices and visit the dentist regularly.