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Use Sweetener Substitutes Wisely to Reduce Sugar in Your Diet

UseSweetenerSubstitutesWiselytoReduceSugarinYourDiet

Although a variety of foods provide energy-producing carbohydrates, sugar is among the most popular. It’s believed we universally crave sugar because of the quick energy boost after eating it, or that it also causes a release in our brains of serotonin endorphins, chemicals which relax us and make us feel good.

But there is a downside to refined sugars like table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup: too much in our diets contributes to conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dental disease. On the latter, sugar is a primary food source for oral bacteria; the more sugar available in the mouth the higher the levels of bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Moderating your intake of refined sugars and other carbohydrates can be hard to do, given that many processed foods contain various forms of refined sugar. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables helps control sugar intake as well as contribute to overall health. Many people also turn to a variety of sugar substitutes: one study found roughly 85% of Americans use some form of it in place of sugar. They’re also being added to many processed foods: unless you’re checking ingredients labels, you may be consuming them unknowingly.

Sugar substitutes are generally either artificial, manufactured products like saccharin or aspartame or extractions from natural substances like stevia or sorbitol. The good news concerning your teeth and gums is that all the major sugar substitutes don’t encourage bacterial growth. Still, while they’re generally safe for consumption, each has varying properties and may have side-effects for certain people. For example, people with phenylketonuria, a rare genetic condition, can’t process aspartame properly and should avoid it.

One alcohol-based sweetener in particular is of interest in oral care. A number of studies indicate xylitol may actually inhibit bacterial growth and thus reduce the risk of tooth decay. You can find xylitol in a variety of gum and mint products.

When considering what sugar substitutes to use, be sure you’re up to date on their potential health effects for certain individuals, as well as check the ingredients labels of processed foods for added sweeteners. As your dentist, we’ll also be glad to advise you on strategies to reduce sugar in your diet and promote better dental health.

If you would like more information on your best options for sweeteners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artificial Sweeteners.”

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5640 W Broadway Ave Crystal, MN 55428-3510

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What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "This is a very professional place, but the atmosphere is so upbeat!!!! From the start of my interaction with the staff upon my leaving it was such a wonderful way to be treated. Everyone was so kind, caring, and considerate of my situation. They really put me at ease. The staff is Amazing!!!! I was overwhelmed by the experience. Thanks Crystal Dental Care!"
    Jon S.
  • "Michelle and Dr.Murphy were very helpful. Front desk ladies Tammy and I do apologize for forgetting the other ladies name, were so nice a welcoming. Everything was explained to me and I actually learn something regarding Diabetes and your oral health. Thanks again guys I will be back to get some treatments done in a few weeks."
    Shamika D.
  • "Great customer service! Wendy was so nice and super helpful with setting my appointment up and making sure I had all the right information. Thank you I will definitely refer everyone I know!"
    Queen A.
  • "Every staff member was kind and welcoming. I received clear and precise answers to all of my questions. Both the assistant and the dentist were gentle and respectful. I was given multiple options for a treatment plan with no pressure or up sales. It felt like affirming medical care. I’m looking forward to being a responsible and long term patient."
    Tobias B.
  • "Amy did a Fantastic job. She really put all of her skills in the cleaning. Probably the best cleaning I've ever had."
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