We’ve all been told that sugar can cause problems for our teeth, but did you know that it’s not actually sugar that causes the problem? Well, not directly anyway. Bacteria in our mouth break down sugar into acids which eat away at our enamel, causing problems like dental decay and cavities. Sugar is one of the easiest substances for bacteria to feed on which is why consuming high amounts of sugar can cause so many dental problems. So what can we do about reducing sugar consumption? Here are the best natural sugar alternatives to help satisfy your sweet tooth.
Best Natural Sugar Alternatives
- Polyols (Sugar Alcohols) – Polyols are neither sugar nor alcohol, yet their chemical structure resemble a hybrid of both. Sugar alcohols like xylitol, malitol, erythritol, sorbitol are commonly used in products made for diabetics because they have little to no effect on blood sugar levels and they closely resemble the taste of sugar. Erythritol and xylitol are also used in chewing gum because of their antibacterial properties. Polyols are not considered artificial sweeteners and are GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) as a food additive, though sensitive individuals may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort from overconsumption. Check out this article for a more detailed explanation of polyols.
- Stevia Extract – While not as versatile as polyols, stevia is also considered a natural sweetener. Stevia extract is derived from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana. When reduced to a white powder, it’s about 200-300 times sweeter than cane sugar but has no calories or effect on blood sugar levels.
Natural sugar alternatives come with the least amount of health risks and are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while preserving oral health.