08 Sep Is Stevia as Good for Your Teeth as Xylitol?
Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth. But nobody wants to give up desserts or sweet breakfast cereal or pumpkin spice lattes. The good news is, you don’t have to. Switching to drinks and treats made with a sugar substitute can help keep your teeth cavity-free.
In this post we compare the benefits of stevia vs. xylitol, and discuss whether or not sugar-free stevia soda is better for your teeth.
Why Is Sugar Bad for Your Teeth?
The less sugar you eat, the healthier your teeth will be. Sugar is bad for your teeth because it starts a chain reaction that eventually leads to dental caries (cavities).
When you eat sugar, so do the microorganisms in your mouth. But when they digest that sugar, they release acids that attack your teeth and gums. And the more sugar they get to eat, the more they multiply, forming colonies of plaque and tartar.
However, sugar substitutes like xylitol and stevia do not contribute to plaque. The microorganisms that form plaque cannot digest these sugar substitutes. So when you avoid sugar, you can prevent the acid attacks that cause cavities and gingivitis.
Stevia vs. Xylitol
In a recent post, we discussed some of the reasons why xylitol is good for your teeth. In fact, it’s often used in dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash because of its benefits for dental health.
Xylitol is a plant-based, natural sweetener that:
- Fights plaque and cavities
- Prevents acid attacks
- Fights cavities
- Repairs tooth enamel
- Freshens breath
Like xylitol, stevia is also a plant-based, natural sweetener. It’s an extract derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, and it can be 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar!
The glycosides in the stevia plant have proven to be an effective antibacterial agent that fights cavity-causing bacteria. In fact, a study published in the World Journal of Dentistry found that high-risk patients who used a stevia mouthwash had fewer cavity-causing bacteria in their saliva.
Stevia is sugar-free and:
- Anti-cariogenic—it does not cause cavities.
- Non-acidogenic—it doesn’t feed the acid-producing bacteria that harm your teeth and gums.
- Anti-inflammatory—it does not contribute to gum disease.
Is Sugar-Free Stevia Soda Better for Your Teeth?
By replacing sugar with a stevia, you can keep the Ph of your saliva neutral and prevent acid attacks. So you might think that switching to stevia-sweetened soft drinks would be better for your teeth.
The bad news is that sodas usually contain citric acid. Citric acid is a preservative and it’s also a flavor enhancer, so it’s a very common ingredient in soft drinks. Unfortunately, citric acid is not good for your teeth. It makes your saliva more acidic, erodes your tooth enamel, and irritates your gums.
The good news is that stevia sodas are better for your teeth than other sodas. Because they are sugar-free, stevia sodas won’t cause as much damage as soft drinks sweetened with sugar or corn syrup. Even if it has citric acid, your saliva Ph will stay closer to neutral with a stevia drink than with a sugary one.
Comprehensive Dental Care in Prescott, Arizona
Do you have a soda habit? If you’re worried about the damage that sugar might be doing to your teeth, come in to Prescott Dentistry for a cleaning and exam. We can advise you on the best ways to protect your dental health and help you prevent cavities or other lasting damage.
Give us a call at 928-445-1660 or reach out online to schedule an appointment today.