Are sugar-free drinks safe for the smile?
During the hot summer months, it is critical to stay hydrated. And even though a can of ice-cold soda sounds like a refreshing drink, it can do more harm than good. Not only does soda not provide the hydration you need, but it is also high in sugars and acids that can contribute to the formation of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Instead, the dentists at Montefiore Medical Center encourage patients to consider other types of beverages to quench their thirst and to stay away from sugary beverages. But what about sugar-free or sugarless drinks? Are these a good alternative? Our dentists can educate you further on the pros and cons of sugarless drinks in regards to their impact on the teeth, gums, and overall oral health and wellness.
Are sugar-free and sugarless drinks safe for the smile?
When it comes to sugarless drinks, the operative word is "less." All carbonated beverages, including both diet and regular, contain some level of acid. And while diet sodas don't have any sugar for bacteria to feed on, the acidic environment in your mouth can still lead to tooth decay. In fact, a recent study found that people who drank diet soda daily were just as likely to develop cavities as those who drank sugary soda.
What beverages are best?
So what's a health- and teeth-conscious person to do? The best option is water; it's calorie-free and helps rinse away food and plaque. But if you're craving something with flavor, look for options that contain xylitol, a natural sweetener that's actually good for teeth. Xylitol-sweetened gum and mints are widely available, and you can even find xylitol syrup to add a little sweetness (and tooth protection) to your morning coffee or tea.
How do I educate myself further on how to maintain a healthy smile?
Nutrition and diet is just one factor involved in ensuring a healthy smile. If you are ready to discuss your dental needs with a quality provider, now is a great time to call Montefiore Medical Center. We have several conveniently located offices around the area to help patients with their oral health needs.