It is well known that sugar is bad for teeth because of the bacteria it breeds. However, most people are unsure how artificial sweeteners affect teeth. It seems like the better choice because of lower calorie intake, but artificial sweeteners in diet sodas, sports drinks, sugarless gum, and other foods can be detrimental to your children’s teeth.

How artificial sweeteners compare to sugar

Eating a lot of sugary foods and drinks is bad for your child’s teeth because bacteria feeds on sugar and then releases acids that eat away at tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities.

While artificial sweeteners may not have the same caloric impact as sugar, they do still have devastating effects on the teeth. Recent studies have found that drinks with sugar and drinks with sugar substitutes both caused damage to the teeth. These same studies found that sugar-free drinks can diminish dental enamel by up to 50 percent.

The reason for this is because the beverages and candies that artificial sweeteners are in, also contain potentially harmful acidic ingredients. Even though bacteria isn’t feeding off of the artificial sweeteners to produce acids the way sugar does, these foods and drinks with artificial sweeteners have the acids that lead to tooth decay and cavities.

Protecting your child’s teeth from tooth decay

It is recommended for your child to rinse their mouth with water immediately after having sugary or artificially sweetened foods and drink. Additionally, it’s suggested that your child wait 30 minutes after rinsing to brush their teeth. Brushing right away can wear away the enamel with the combination of erosion and abrasion.

While brushing and flossing helps remove the sugars from the teeth, the best way to prevent tooth decay from sugar and artificial sweeteners is to avoid them as much as possible. Instead of giving your children sugary snacks and drinks, consider replacing them with healthier choices like:

  • Milk
  • Water
  • Apples
  • Cheeses
  • Nuts
  • Meats
  • Broccoli

Contact Dr. David Moore at Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry

Stay on top of your child’s dental health by scheduling regular appointments with their pediatric dentists. Prevention is the best way to stop issues before they occur. If you still have questions about artificial sweeteners and the effects they could have on your child’s teeth, reach out to Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry. Our knowledgeable and helpful staff can guide you in the right direction of keeping your child’s smile healthy.