For years now dentists have been telling us sugar is bad for our teeth and, in response, many of us have diligently switched what we eat and drink. But now they’re telling us that the chocies we’ve made are just as bad.
Scientists at the Oral Health Co-operative Research Centre at the University of Melbourne have found that acids in sugar-free drinks, lollies and other “sugar-free” treats are attacking our teeth just as aggressively as sugar.
They found that drinks high in citric and phosphoric acids caused “measurable damage to dental enamel”.
“Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion,” said CEO of the centre, Eric Reynolds.
Sugar damages teeth because it feeds bacteria in the mouth, which then produces acid that attacks the enamel. This tends to happen in places where bacteria gather, such as in the crevices of your molars.
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When drinking acidic drinks you are bathing your mouth in acid, resulting in erosion of the enamel across the whole tooth, which leaves it susceptible to bacteria.
“We have tended to focus on sugar,” Professor Reynolds said. “The food industry has adapted to that by making sugar free variants, but I’m just not convinced that those sugar free variants are good for you. They’re certainly not good for your teeth.”
He suggets drinking water between meals and limiting soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices to protect your teeth.
Do you drink sugar-free drinks or lollies thinking they are a better option for your teeth?