Is Sugar-Free Gum Actually Harming Your Teeth?

June 16th, 2014


chewing-gum_0Do you chew sugar-free gum as an alternative for gum? If so, you are one among many others! Sugar-free gum is accessible in the checkout aisles of almost every gas station, pharmacy, grocery store, and convenience store. It is sometimes marketed as a cavity-prevention dental aid or diet aid. However, sugar-free gum may not be best product.

Sugar-free gum actually has little influence on your appetite or weight loss. Research has shown that individuals who chewed sugar-free gum as a diet aid were less motivated to eat fruits and vegetables. This may be likely because flavored gum often leaves a remnant taste that causes fruits and vegetables to have a bitter taste. In addition, those who consumed fewer meals as a result of chewing sugar-free gum ended up eating larger proportions when they did consume meals.

Sugar-free gum typically consists of sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, and sorbitol. Xylitol is the most common sweetener in sugar-free gum, and has been found by research studies to prevent the formation of plaque, and ultimately reduce the risk of tooth decay. However, be careful! A product labeled “sugar-free” does not always mean that it is safe for your teeth. The term sugar-free typically forms a false safety because people may believe that sugar-free products protect teeth.

Although sugar-free gum appears to trump chewing gum, there is little evidence to show that sugar-free sweeteners are better for your teeth than sugar. According to the British Dental Journal, researchers found that sugar-free sweeteners, like the “tooth-friendly” xylitol, could cause damage if ingested in combination with acidic additives, including preservatives or flavorings. Since fruit-flavored sugar-free gums typically contain these additives, individuals are at risk for dental erosion, an irreversible loss of tooth enamel. It is best to avoid, sour and fruit-flavored sugar-free gum. However, this not only applies for gum, but also for sugar-free candies and sodas, which also may contain these risky additives.

Gum should never be used as an substitute to good oral hygiene.Don’t forget that it is also important to brush and floss after meals and maintain a healthy diet!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation. Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Kim or Dr.PradhanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.





High Calorie Drinks Reduced In Schools

September 6th, 2012

A while ago, we blogged about a possible sugar tax being implemented on foods with added sugar and sweeteners, such as soft drinks. It was designed to discourage both adults and children from purchasing unhealthy food and drink. Now it seems that the next step has been taken by reducing the availability of these items in schools, helping to further combat obesity.

There has been a huge reduction in drink calorie content available in schools (90%) between 2004-10. These numbers reflect the partnership between the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association with major drink companies to lessen these drinks' availability.

Vending machines in schools now look much different than in previous years. An assortment of water, milk, juice and sports drinks is what's typically available versus an assortment of sodas before. An assessment of the foods offered in school cafeterias will be underway soon as well.

As the obesity rate climbed, officials began to take notice and search for the cause. Christopher Ashley, supervisor of food and nutrition for Springfield City Schools, said:

“Nine years ago I came into this segment of food service, and you’d see a Honey Buns and two Mountain Dews for breakfast. Now kids are going through the line and getting a better breakfast. That’s just the start.”

The alliance between the William J. Clinton Foundation and beverage companies should continue to make a difference. As stated above, obesity rates have dropped significantly in the past few years. With an emphasis placed on health and wellness not just in schools, but in the media, it is believed that the rate will continue to drop. Once the school menus reflect the nutrition of the drinks, students will be at a major advantage for better overall health.

It's important to note that reducing the consumption of soft drinks will improve your smile! Drs. Ali & Ali are committed to spreading oral health awareness and urge you to opt for healthier drinks that don't damage teeth. Feel free to contact us with any questions at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com.


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