People greatly valuing their dental health often opt for sugar-free beverages, food, and gum, believing that they are safer for their teeth. Some of these products may contain xylitol, a “tooth-friendly” sugar alcohol that helps fight tooth decay. But Dr. Joseph Mercola says you should not be so quick to rely on these products because they may still cause other dental problems.
A recent study revealed that sugar-free products that contain acidic flavorings and preservatives may still lead to dental erosion even if they contain xylitol. According to the researchers:
“Although the presence of acidic flavorings and preservatives in sugar-free products has received less attention, these additives may have adverse dental health effects, such as dental erosion. Furthermore, the term sugar-free may generate false security because people may automatically believe that sugar-free products are safe on teeth. (link)”
Dr. Mercola says that dental erosion is a process of incremental decalcification and is different from dental cavities. Over time, this process can literally dissolve your teeth. Dental erosion occurs because of foods and beverages that are acidic, such as carbonated beverages like soda, sports drinks, vinegar, and fruit juices. This is why consuming acidic, sugar-free foods is not the best way to protect your teeth.
“Sugar-Free” Products Are More Dangerous Than You Think
Have you noticed that products, even though they claim to be “sugar-free,” still contain a hint of sweetness or flavor? This is because they contain artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, that are dangerous to your health.
Dr. Mercola says aspartame is metabolized inside your body into both formaldehyde (which embalms tissue and is not removed from your body through the normal waste filtering performed by your kidneys and liver) and wood alcohol (a poison). Aspartame has been linked to cancer, brain tumors, birth defects, and weight gain.
Sucralose or Splenda is another dangerous sweetener found in sugar-free products. Numerous studies reveal that Splenda can cause decreased red blood cells (a sign of anemia), male infertility, enlarged kidneys, spontaneous abortions, and an increased death rate among animals. Nevertheless, it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the basis of just two human studies!
Dr. Mercola adds that products with artificial sweeteners may distort your biochemistry. For example, drinking diet soda doubles your risk of obesity by increasing carbohydrate cravings and stimulating your appetite and fat storage.
So How Can You Maintain Good Dental Health?
Dr. Mercola says that tending to your oral health is important for your overall health. Remember, the foods and beverages you ingest daily always attack your teeth. However, your body constantly repairs the small amounts of damage on your tooth enamel. If you’re optimally healthy, cavities will not form. But if bacteria overwhelm your system, it can lead to dental decay.
Gum disease, a severe and long-term effect of plaque deposit, may also lead to tooth decay. It may increase your risk of:
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
Flossing and brushing your teeth regularly is not the only way to prevent dental decay. You should also avoid sugar, sugar-free foods, and processed foods. Consume a low-sugar, healthy diet rich in organic vegetables, animal-based foods (like raw eggs and grass-fed meats), and healthy fats. If you want to add sweetness to your food, use a natural sweetener like the herb stevia.
Dr. Mercola also recommends going to a mercury-free dentist for regular cleanings to ensure that your teeth are always cavity-free.