We expect sugar-free gum and treats to be better for our teeth because we know sugar promotes cavities. On the surface, it’s the right idea. However, new research indicates that some of the other ingredients in sugar-free products may have adverse dental effects. Just published in the British Dental Journal, the research, which compiled data from various studies, found that although substances like the sugar-free sweetener xylitol actually reduce risk of dental decay, other acidic additives (like the kind found in fruit-flavored gums) can increase risk of dimineralizing tooth enamel and, eventually erosion. So if you are a regular candy consumer, look at the labels. Acidic flavorings and preservatives may make those sugar-free candies less of a safe bet. If you are going to enjoy these treats, stay away from fruit-flavored sugar-free products, which are most likely to be acidic.
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