Despite the link between sugar consumption and tooth decay, drummed into our heads since early childhood, “real sugar” is making a comeback. Pepsi has it, Coke has it, Dr. Pepper has it, natural sodas have it. Read your labels the next time you shop at Whole Foods and you’ll get a picture of the resurgence of real sugar. Dentists all over the country must be rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospects. But why, if sugar is so bad for us is it making such a come back? And what does it really do to our teeth?
Sugar is natural. It comes from a plant. And plant-based foods are good for us, right? The soda companies hope you’ll take that sweet bait. But let’s get back to sugar itself. Sugar cane stalks are shredded and squeezed. The resulting natural cane juice is boiled and then dried. Et voila, sucre, suiker, zucchero, azúcar. Sugar by any other name tastes as sweet. The process of refining sugar is a little like that you might imagine for processing sea salt. It almost sounds healthy and fresh—like a sea breeze!
But our parents were not wrong to brow-beat us with the sugar/tooth decay connection. A recent article in Time Magazine underscores Mom and Dad this way: “If you don’t want tooth decay, you should seriously cut back on the sugar. According to new research published in the journal BMC Public Health, sugars are the only cause of tooth decay in kids and adults.” (http://time.com/3380563/sugar-tooth-decay/) The article goes on to tell us that tooth decay is the most common non-infectious disease in the world! As many as 92% of adults in the United Sates have suffered some degree of tooth decay. The article links the problem directly to our national sweet tooth. Your mother knew this.
But it is not the sugar itself that attacks your teeth, but sugar is definitely the catalyst. Here’s how it happens:
- Your mouth is full of bacteria – some of it is good, some bad
- The harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugars found in everything from soda to soybeans
- This feeding creates acids that leech minerals and eat away at tooth enamel, the protective outer surface or visible ‘shell’ of your teeth
- Without treatment such as good oral hygiene, these acids lead to bacterial infections that make holes in your pearly whites
It’s enough to make you put down your screen and pick up your tooth brush!
The good news is that Blossom Water uses erythritol instead of sugar. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol naturally derived from fruits and vegetables. While we chose it for its minimal caloric content (a 16 oz bottle of Blossom Water contains only 45 calories) and great flavor, erythritol does not cause tooth decay. Bonus! In fact erythritol is even used in some toothpastes! Check this out:
- “Clinicians all over the world are talking to patients about the benefits of xylitol and advising them to have multiple xylitol exposures daily. Some even advise patients to substitute sugar with xylitol crystals when baking. Don’t stop. The use of xylitol is great clinical advice.” (http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-35/issue-7/columns/is-erythritol-our-new-best-friend.html)
- “Erythritol appeared to be more effective against caries than xylitol in the … and fewer decayed teeth than children who used xylitol or sorbitol.” (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/766577)
- “We discovered that the application of the sugar alcohol erythritol makes it easier to break up bacterial biofilms.” (http://www.kao.com/jp/en/corp_rd/development_01_03.html)
Cheers. And drink up!