It has long been known that consuming large quantities of sugar is bad for your teeth and can lead to the development of cavities. But there is growing evidence that sugar free drinks can be just as bad for your teeth as sugary drinks.
According to a recent study conducted at the University of Melbourne, sugar free drinks result in comparable levels of tooth decay as drinks containing sugar. This is largely due to the fact that sugar free drinks often contain acids which erode your tooth enamel in a comparable manner as the acids produced when bacteria interact with sugar in your mouth.
For this reason, the researchers recommend drinking water instead of sugar free drinks which are highly acidic. In particular, it’s best to avoid drinks containing citric and phosphoric acids, since these are especially corrosive to your teeth.
The study evaluated 23 different drinks, some containing sugar and some without, and measured their impact on 70 human molars. There were three phases to the study:
- Phase 1 – Researchers measured the impact of 15 drinks, some with sugar and some sugar free, that are commonly found in Australian schools
- Phase 2 – Researchers measured the impact of Coca Cola, water and 8 different sports drinks
- Phase 3 – Researchers measured the impact of 32 sugar free products, including baked goods and candy, many of which contained similar levels of acidity as sugar free drinks
The results conclusively found that sugar free drinks and products result in tooth decay. In Phase 1, all of the drinks tested except for milk resulted in tooth decay. In Phase 2, researchers found that Coke resulted in the highest levels of tooth decay, while the sports drinks also resulted in the development of cavities. Water was the only beverage tested that didn’t result in decay. In Phase 3, researchers found that the sugar free products tested also resulted in tooth decay. Fruit flavored treats, especially lemon-flavored ones, were the most damaging to teeth.
While limiting your intake of sugary and sugar free drinks is a great way to promote better oral health, it’s also important to visit our dental office twice a year for a dental checkup and teeth cleaning. During this visit, Dr. Fleschler will remove any plaque and tartar that has built up on the surface of your teeth, and she’ll evaluate your teeth for early signs of decay. By catching cavities in their early stages, Dr. Fleschler can use conservative treatment options that will preserve more of your healthy natural tooth structure.
Please contact Dr. Heather Fleschler using the form on the right side of the page or call (713) 660-6500 today to schedule your next dental checkup. We serve patients in the West University, Bellaire, Meyerland, and River Oaks areas of Houston, Texas.