Most people know that sugar is bad for their teeth, but it’s the bacteria in your mouth that feed on sugar and cause the damage. As bacteria consume sugar, they produce acid that attacks the tooth enamel, weakening it and eventually causing cavities. Many people are trying to cut down on their sugar consumption and are choosing artificial sweeteners instead.
While artificial sweeteners don’t contain any sugar and will not feed bacteria in your mouth, they can still negatively impact oral health. Many sweeteners have high levels of acid, and any form of acid will weaken your tooth enamel. Manufacturers add acids to artificial sweeteners and sugar-free drinks and sweets because it makes them taste better. If you want to have something containing an artificial sweetener, it’s best to choose chocolate flavoured products as these tend to have less acid than fruit flavoured drinks and foods.
However, there is one artificial sweetener that is good for your teeth and which is called xylitol. Xylitol can actually help reduce the risk of tooth decay by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Over time, using xylitol helps reduce the number of decay-causing bacteria that survive on tooth surfaces.