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4 Sugar Alternatives That Have Surprising Effects On Teeth Health

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If you sip on coffee, tea, or other beverages sweetened with sugar alternatives, then you may not think the beverages will have much impact on your teeth. While most people know that diet soda can still harm their teeth because of the acids in them, they don't think twice about how non-acidic beverages that they prepare and sweeten themselves with sugar alternatives could impact their teeth. Some of these sweeteners have added ingredients that can take a toll on your teeth, while some of the alternative sweeteners themselves are just bad for your teeth. 

1. Sucralose 

Sucralose in its pure form contains no carbohydrates and will not cause cavities, but if you use sucralose sweeteners that come in packets or in bulk form, you are not using pure sucralose. Powdered sucralose typically contains dextrin and/or maltodextrin, and they are both types of carbohydrates. A study shows that sucralose with these added ingredients can be cariogenic, meaning they can cause tooth decay. 

While the study still concludes that sucralose with these additives is nowhere near as bad for teeth as actual sugar is, it is important to recognize that sipping on beverages sweetened with these sweeteners all day may be something you want to reconsider. 

A great alternative to prevent any impact on your oral health posed by the additives in powdered sucralose products is to purchase a pure liquid sucralose to use instead. You can find this product in health food stores. 

2. Stevia 

Stevia is a sweetener that is embraced by people who not only want a sugar-free sweetener, but a natural one as well. While pure stevia is another sweetener unlikely to cause cavities, stevia sweeteners that you purchase at the store also typically contain various additives that can potentially cause cavities.

Some stevia sweeteners contain dextrose, which is literally just a name for a type of sugar, and some contain agave powder. Others contain lactose, which is milk sugar. A study was conducted on stevia preparations that contain lactose, and the results showed that the products can be cariogenic. 

Even products labeled as pure stevia powder can contain maltodextrin, and stevia liquids can can contain vegetable glycerine (which contains carbohydrates). 

If you want to find pure, unadulterated stevia extract, you will actually have to find it in a health supplement section of a store, as it is illegal to market in the United States as a sweetener. 

3. Agave

Agave is not an artificial sweetener, and it does contain calories, but some people use it as a natural sugar alternative. While just recently it has suffered scrutiny over the revelation it is likely not a better alternative for overall health than white sugar, it has never been good for your teeth. 

Agave is high in fructose, which is a form of sugar. Typical table sugar contains sucrose. Fructose has been studied and is believed to be no better for your teeth than table sugar made of sucrose. 

4. Monk Fruit

Monk fruit sweetener became popular after being featured on a popular television show. This is another example of a sweetener that can contain added bulking agents, such as the dextrin or maltodextrin that are included in many sucralose sweeteners. Some preparations also contain dextrose and other sugar-based additives. 

Remember that this information does not mean that these alternative sweeteners should be immediately removed from your diet. Some (with the exception of agave), are still less cariogenic than pure white table sugar. Instead, look for pure forms of the sugar substitutes that don't cause cavities by themselves. If you choose to use the products with additives, then you may want to drink the beverages you put them in more quickly, then brush your teeth, instead of sipping all day. 

You can look at more info about what foods are harmful to your teeth by following this link and contacting a dentist.