Victims of tooth decay who have had to turn to white fillings, dental bonding or even porcelain veneers to restore their smile often turn to sugar-free gum and other sugar-free products to keep their teeth healthy. Most sugar-free gum in the US is made with the cheap sugar alcohol sorbitol which has been approved by the FDA to be labeled as ‘does not promote tooth decay’. However a recent study shows that the consumption and chewing of sugar-free products should be done with some caution as some products may contain harmful ingredients.
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The study, which was published in the British Dental Journal on October 7, found that researchers who studied sugar-free sweets such as gum sometimes contain preservatives and acidic flavorings. The additives are commonly found in fruit-flavored sugar-free gum and may cause dental erosion.
When acid is on the teeth for a long period of time, the contact can cause erosion. Hard sugar-free candies, especially those that are sour, may be the most notorious for leaving acidic additives on the teeth. Because of this, patients should be aware of the ingredients in the sugar-free products they use.
Here are some helpful tips to avoid flavorings that may have an acidic component that could cause tooth decay.
- Choose a sugar-free item with Xylitlol. Xylitol is a sweetener that has shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay and it is commonly advertised as being tooth friendly. Xylitol flavored gum may offset any damage done by acidic flavorings.
- Mint and other non-fruit flavors like Butterscotch should have reduced acidity, and choosing gum over hard candy will reduce the amount of time the acids are in contact with your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating sweets. Rinsing within 20 seconds will stop the acid and stimulate natural saliva production which neutralizes acid.
Chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to protect your mouth and your smile so that it remains as beautiful as ever, just be aware of the acidity of fruit-flavorings. Making good choices as well as visiting Austin Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Dan Matthews, for regular cleanings and examinations will keep your teeth looking great.