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  • Sugar-free food that contain acidic flavorings and preservatives may contribute to dental erosion
  • A sugar-free label on a food should not be automatically interpreted as “safe for your teeth”
  • Avoiding sugars and processed foods (including sugar-free processed foods) is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your oral health

Sugar-Free Drinks and Chewing Gum Linked to Tooth Damage

October 29, 2011 | 44,468 views
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By Dr. Mercola

Many people choose sugar-free beverages and gum because they believe they are safer for their teeth.

The sugar alcohol xylitol, which is popular in sugar-free foods, has even been found to help fight tooth decay, and the European Union has approved a related health claim that it is a 'tooth friendly' ingredient in chewing gum.

However, a label of "sugar-free" should not automatically be taken to mean "safe for your teeth." As a new study revealed, even foods that contain "tooth friendly" xylitol have the potential to cause other dental problems …

Sugar-Free Foods May Cause Tooth Erosion

The fact that sugar-free foods do not contain sugar may mean they're less likely to contribute to the formation of cavities in your teeth, however this says nothing about their ability to cause other tooth problems, like dental erosion.

A new review revealed that sugar-free products that contain acidic flavorings and preservatives may in fact lead to dental erosion, even if they contain cavity-fighting xylitol.

The researchers stated:

"Although the presence of acidic flavorings and preservatives in sugar-free products has received less attention, these additives may have adverse dental health effects, such as dental erosion. Furthermore, the term sugar-free may generate false security because people may automatically believe that sugar-free products are safe on teeth."

Unlike cavities, dental erosion is a process of incremental decalcification, which, over time, literally dissolves your teeth. Virtually any food or beverage that is acidic can contribute to tooth erosion, including carbonated beverages like soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, lemon juice and vinegar.

Reducing or eliminating as many erosive beverages as possible from your diet is important if you want to protect your teeth from unnecessary damage, and this has nothing to do with their sugar content, or lack thereof.

So if you're eating sugar-free foods to protect your teeth you are being misled because if the food is acidic or contains acidic flavorings or preservatives, it will still have the potential to damage your teeth. In fact, if you believe there is any benefit to eating foods that contain artificial sweeteners, you are probably in for a surprise …

Artificial Sweeteners Can Damage Your Health and Make You Fat

The fact that sugar-free products can damage your teeth adds to the growing litany of reasons why you're better off ditching these fake foods from your diet altogether.

For starters, artificial sweeteners themselves are toxic. For instance, aspartame (found in Equal, Spoonful, Equal Measure, AminoSweet, Benevia, NutraTaste, and Canderel) is metabolized inside your body into both wood alcohol (a poison) and formaldehyde (which embalms tissue and is not eliminated from your body through the normal waste filtering done by your liver and kidneys). It's been linked to birth defects, cancer, brain tumors and weight gain.

Sucralose (Splenda) was approved by the FDA based on only two human studies, the longest of which lasted only four days – even though animal studies found the sweetener was associated with decreased red blood cells (a sign of anemia), male infertility, enlarged kidneys, spontaneous abortions and an increased death rate.

Further, consuming artificial sweeteners can cause distortions in your biochemistry, and if you drink diet soda in an attempt to lose weight, they won't help you. Instead, most studies looking at this show very clearly that diet soft drinks actually double your obesity risk by stimulating your appetite, increasing carbohydrate cravings, and stimulating fat storage!

Several years ago, I wrote a book called Sweet Deception, in which I expose the many concerns related to the consumption of artificial sweeteners.

It's an extremely well-researched book, and it's as valid today as it was when I first wrote it. I spent over three years and had five health care professionals work on it with me, as the maker of Splenda, Johnson & Johnson, had their legal firm write me a 20-page letter threatening to sue me if I published the book. Needless to say, the book was published and they did not sue me as the information was all true. This is not to say that you should swap your sugar-free foods for sugary varieties, as sugar, too, will wreck your teeth.

A Low-Sugar, Healthy Diet, Not Sugar-Free Fake Foods, is the Key to Healthy Teeth

Cavities form on your teeth when the acid-producing bacteria in plaque dissolve the mineral in your teeth. While microscopic at first, the cavities can increase in size and number until the decay must be drilled out and repaired with a filling or crown, a root canal performed, or the tooth removed. But how do you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place?

By avoiding sugars and processed foods (including sugar-free processed foods)!

Good oral health and strong, healthy teeth are the direct result of a healthy diet. Dr. Weston A. Price, who was one of the major nutritional pioneers of all time, completed some of the most incredible research on this topic back in the 1900s, and it is still very much relevant today.

What he found, and documented in his classic book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, is that native tribes who were eating their traditional diet had nearly perfect teeth, and were almost 100 percent free of tooth decay -- and they did not have toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, or root canals and fillings.

But when these tribal populations were introduced to sugar and white flour, guess what happened … their health, and their perfect teeth, rapidly deteriorated. Most people whose diet includes very little sugar and few processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay. So the simple act of limiting, or eliminating sugar, and avoiding processed foods -- along with regular cleanings with your natural mercury-free dentist -- will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy and cavity-free naturally.

Your Dental Health is a Window to Your Overall Health

Most people regard a cavity as a minor inconvenience, but if your tooth has begun to decay to the point that a cavity is evident, this is a major sign that disease-causing bacteria has begun to overpower your immune system and your body.

Your teeth are constantly under attack from the foods you eat, the beverages you drink and bacteria, so much so that your body constantly works at repairing small amounts of damage to the enamel of your teeth. If you're healthy, this should be enough to prevent cavities from forming, but if the bacteria overwhelm your system, dental decay can result.

Gum disease, which is caused by the long-term effects of plaque deposits and is a major cause of tooth decay, also raises your risk of developing several chronic health problems including:

So tending to your oral health is an important strategy for protecting your overall health. This includes not only brushing and flossing but also eating right by avoiding sugar, sugar-free foods and processed foods. In the event you are looking for a sweet treat that will not interfere with your health or harm your teeth, the herb stevia is my favorite option.

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico