If you’re watching your sugar intake, but need to satisfy a sweet tooth, using a sugar substitute can be less harmful to your teeth and body. Here’s a breakdown of substitutes and how they can affect your oral and overall health.
Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols: These can be a hundred times sweeter than sugar and can include saccharin, aspartame and sucralose. They contain little to no sugar, so they don’t contribute to tooth decay. But they potentially trick the body into craving sweets on a regular basis, which exposes you to the risks of sugar intake again.
Plant and fruit-based sweeteners: Stevia and monk fruit extract have no calories or carbohydrates. While these are generally safe, some studies have found that stevia disrupts your natural gut microbiome, which can disturb oral and overall health.
Natural sugars: Honey, coconut sugar, agave, molasses and dates have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, but they still contain sucrose and can contribute to tooth decay.
These substitutes should be consumed in moderation. Remember, drinking water immediately after eating is recommended to help wash sugars and acids from teeth.