If tooth enamel was Superman, sugar would be kryptonite. Sugar is just about the worst thing for your teeth. When mixed with bacteria in your mouth, it quickly becomes enamel-eroding acid that causes tooth decay. That’s why virtually every list of cavity-prevention tips begin with ‘avoid sugary food and beverages.’ But we know it’s hard to deny a sweet tooth, so our Livonia dentist, Dr. James Stewart, would like to tell you about some healthier sugar substitutes.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol naturally present in foods like corn, beets, and berries. It tastes almost as sweet as sugar, but only has about nine calories per teaspoon. This sugar substitute is actually good for your teeth. xylitol prevents bacteria from sticking to the tooth surface. It’s often used in sugar-free gum, and can help prevent tooth decay. Some reports show that xylitol can reduce acid-causing bacteria in the mouth by up to 90 percent. Xylitol can also help keep a neutral pH balance in the mouth.
Sugar alcohols are not digested well by the body, though. So, while it won’t raise your blood sugar, it can upset your stomach, causing gas and diarrhea.
Commonly marketed as Splenda, a packet is equivalent to two teaspoons of table sugar. Sucralose is derived from a sugar molecule, but is chemically altered so it passes through the body unmetabolized. It is also heat stable and can be used in baking.
Sold under the brand name Sweet’N Low, a packet of saccharin is also equivalent to about two teaspoons of table sugar. This substitute is best for coffee and tea, but should not be used in baking.
Sold as Equal, aspartame also has the ratio of one packet to two teaspoons of table sugar. It should only be used in cooking if the recipe specifically calls for it.
Schedule a Consultation
Just because you’re cutting out the sugar doesn’t mean you can let up on your oral health regimen. Take care of your mouth by brushing twice a day, flossing, and using antibacterial mouthwash. You should also schedule cleanings and checkups with Dr. Stewart every six months. You can do so by calling our Livonia dental office at (734) 425-4400. We serve patients from Novi, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Dearborn, and the surrounding areas.