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Sugar-Free Drinks Are Just As Bad For Your Teeth, Experts Warn

While sugary drinks have been linked to heart attacks, diabetes and even death, researchers at the University of Melbourne based Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) set out to examine the health implications of the readily available sugar-free alternatives and according to their research, the sugarless alternatives aren’t necessarily any better for your teeth than the ones that contain sugar.

The researchers, who published their findings online in a briefing paper, claim that the sugar-free products that they tested exhibit the potential to inflict damage to teeth as a result of their acidic composition — which can be seen in pH levels. But acidity is by no means the only variable, as certain foods contain chemicals such as citrate, a chelator that binds chemicals to calcium, which can work to create what ScienceAlert referred to in a report as a “particularly erosive combination” with the ability to strip calcium from teeth.

Eric Reynolds, the CEO of Oral Health CRC and a professor at Melbourne Dental School, was quoted by Medical News Today as having explained that while sugar intake reduction does reduce dental decay, “many people” are simply unaware of the fact that “acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion.”

Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion.

The researchers tested sugar-free lollipops–which were found to contain acids used for flavoring–as well as 15 soft drinks, of which three were sugar-free brands. The researchers noted that all of the drinks tested showed measurable weight and surface loss.

The research, which was conducted on extracted healthy human molars free of dental caries, showed no significant difference in erosion potential between sugared and sugar-free soft drinks.

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