• 31 OCT 19

    Artificial sweeteners: saviours or sinners?

     

    As the war on sugar continues, it’s little surprise that artificial sweeteners are fast becoming a preferred option. After the UK introduced a Sugar Tax in 2018 that penalises drinks with a high sugar content, it’s understandable that manufactures of these drinks as well as those who create sugary confections and other consumables are turning their attentions towards alternatives that allow them to keep their products tax free.

    But are artificial sweeteners just as bad as the sugar they replace? There has been a lot of noise surrounding the subject over the last few years, and it’s important for dental professionals to know the facts.

     

    Obesity, sugar and additives

    One of the driving forces behind the introduction of the Sugar Tax is the current obesity crisis taking place in the UK. According to statistics from the House of Commons Library, the rate of dangerous obesity in the UK has exploded from 19% of the population in 1993 to 29% in 2016, with 64% of the population being classed as overweight (weighing more than they should for their height and age, but not yet fully within the danger zone). Furthermore, this same set of statistics reveals that one in every five children is obese at the age of eleven.[i]

    Obviously, this is unacceptable, and while there may be a number of reasons to blame, diet, the increased intake of sugar and ready availability of sweet treats is likely to be one of the leading factors.

    As we all know, obesity can lead to a number of problems, including heart diseases, certain cancers and diabetes.[ii] But does cutting sugar and switching to artificial additives help people lose weight? Unfortunately, this is one of those issues that seems to have two conflicting bodies of evidence.

    Research presented by the Canadian Medical Association Journal that took a huge pool of associated research, some of which was performed over a 10-year period, actually found that when people consumed beverages sweetened with artificial additives such as aspartame on a daily basis they were at an increased chance of developing heart disease and becoming obese.[iii] However, one thing that is important to take into account when reviewing this information is that these studies are hardy going to track every single item of food or drink that these subjects consumed during this time, and many of them focus purely on drinks. Yes, subjects may have had a diet cola, but is it just as likely they consumed this alongside unhealthy foods and other things that may be full of sugar? It’s impossible to tell where the weight gain stems from.

    On the flip side, the evidence in favour of artificial sweeteners as a means of weight management seems logical, at least. If you consider an average can of fizzy drink can contain around 140 calories, then it makes sense that by swapping to an alternative with an artificial sweetener that provides zero or very few calories that weight loss can be better managed. However, as the previous study suggests, this is not necessarily a black and white issue. In fact, other studies have suggested that because artificial sweeteners activate certain parts of our brains that cause hunger, people make up the calorific deficiency by eating more food. However, there’s also the argument that as diet drinks are marketed towards people who are likely to be wanting to lose weight already, their calorific intake may be coming entirely from bad food choices and this is just cause and effect data misinterpretation. As you can see, the issue is a difficult one to decipher.

     

    Oral health

    As dental professionals, perhaps the more pressing issue is the impact both sugar and artificial sweeteners can have on oral health. Sugar is undoubtedly bad for our teeth, causing increased incidence of decay – but are artificial sweeteners as bad?

    Again, this seems like a contentious issue. Some studies put forward the argument that these substances are just as bad for teeth as they soften the tooth enamel, leaving teeth more prone to decay.[iv]

    Conversely, other sources claim that because oral bacteria feed off of sugar, artificial sweeteners are a much better option as they do not allow this process to take place, thus inhibiting plaque formation. Furthermore, some artificial sweeteners such as xylitol have been found to have benefits for oral health due to antibacterial properties.[v]

     

    What should you suggest?

    In the end, it’s clear that more independent research needs to be carried out to determine whether artificial sweeteners are in fact safe or harbouring some unpleasant health effects. It could very well be a case of “better the devil you know” and sugar may be less damaging, or artificial sweeteners could be being falsely maligned.

    Due to this uncertainty, professionals should recommend patients stick to drinks that don’t contain either of these things, such as milk or water. We may one day know whether we can trust artificial sweeteners fully, but until then it’s better to be safe than sorry.

     

     For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

    Or visit www.endocare.co.uk

    [i] The House of Commons Library. Obesity Statistics Briefing Paper, Number 3336 6th August 2019. Link: file:///Users/writer/Downloads/SN03336.pdf

    [ii] NHS. Obesity. Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/ [Last accessed August 19].

    [iii] Time Magazine. Artificial Sweeteners Are Linked to Weight Gain—Not Weight Loss. Link: https://time.com/4859012/artificial-sweeteners-weight-loss/ [Last accessed August 19].

    [iv] Oral Health CRC. The Potential of Sugar-Free Beverages, Sugar-Free Confectionary and Sports Drink to Cause Dental Erosion. Link: http://www.oralhealthcrc.org.au/sites/default/files/Dental%20Erosion%20Briefing%20Paper_FINAL2015.pdf [Last accessed August 19].

    [v] New York Times. Sweet Tooth. Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/science/are-sugar-substitutes-bad-for-teeth.html [Last accessed August 19].

Endocare Root Canal Specialist London - Embarrassing Bodies

Click on the link above to see what happened when we were invited by Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies to treat a patient who was suffering from an extreme case of  teeth grinding.

ENdocare Welcome Video

Click on the link above to watch an overview of what we do and to learn more about EndoCare.

Weekend Opening

We are now open on Weekends. If you need to see a Root Canal Dentist on Saturday or Sunday then we are now open. For details of our new weekend opening hours please contact us now.

Patient Testimonials

Thank you so much for looking after our nanny Noelia! Thank you also for offering her such a generous discount for your excellent treatment. She asked me to pass on her thanks also. With best wishes.

Read More

Quentin McCoach
Just a quick but BIG thank you all for making what was a frightening and miserable procedure into an experience I could hanle. If there had been more people like you all, I would have a much healthier mouth. It was a pleasure meeting you and your kindness is much ...

Read More

Georgia F
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and Mr. Sultan for the excellent patient care I received last week. My reluctance to proceed with the surgical treatment was apparent, but with your advice and reassurance, I am sure that I made the right decision. The procedure, though ...

Read More

Anne
Thank you very much for the wonderful work you did for me. I can smile again!

Read More

Zita Drew
Thank you for treating my dental pain, it was a great relief! Thank you also for the care I received while visiting your practice.

Read More

Fraser Gray
Thankyou so much for once again saving a difficult tooth!!  Another thankyou is due to you for your gift to my daughter of the recipe book written by your aunt. Noelle returned to Dubai with the book firmly tucked under her arm. She returns in July for the summer and ...

Read More

Sheila Ferris
This is just to thank you for the root-canal treatment which you carried out on my tooth last Tuesday afternoon. All has now settled down and I can chew on the tooth as normal. I think that we both had a tough ninety minutes last Tuesday but for me it ...

Read More

David Thomson
Just to say thanks for the coffees & friendly, supportive chats. You certainly helped to take the edge off a stressful time for us.

Read More

Rod & Sue Witheridge

Our Clinic Locations

map1

Harley Street Root Canal Clinic
99 Harley Street
London
W1G 6AQ

Contact this Clinic:
Call us: 0207 224 0999
Email us: CLICK HERE

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Richmond Root Canal Clinic
4-6 George Street
Richmond
Surrey TW9 1JY

Contact this Clinic:
Call us: 0208 912 1340
Email us: CLICK HERE

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EndoCare - Root Canal Specialist London - Post

  • Root Canal Treatment

    You may require root canal treatment if you have pain or swelling associalted with your teeth.

  • Root Canal Re-Treatment

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  • Endodontic Microsurgery

    Using the latest surgical techniques we help save teeth even if root canal treatment is not possible.

    • 31 OCT 19

    Artificial sweeteners: saviours or sinners?

     

    As the war on sugar continues, it’s little surprise that artificial sweeteners are fast becoming a preferred option. After the UK introduced a Sugar Tax in 2018 that penalises drinks with a high sugar content, it’s understandable that manufactures of these drinks as well as those who create sugary confections and other consumables are turning their attentions towards alternatives that allow them to keep their products tax free.

    But are artificial sweeteners just as bad as the sugar they replace? There has been a lot of noise surrounding the subject over the last few years, and it’s important for dental professionals to know the facts.

     

    Obesity, sugar and additives

    One of the driving forces behind the introduction of the Sugar Tax is the current obesity crisis taking place in the UK. According to statistics from the House of Commons Library, the rate of dangerous obesity in the UK has exploded from 19% of the population in 1993 to 29% in 2016, with 64% of the population being classed as overweight (weighing more than they should for their height and age, but not yet fully within the danger zone). Furthermore, this same set of statistics reveals that one in every five children is obese at the age of eleven.[i]

    Obviously, this is unacceptable, and while there may be a number of reasons to blame, diet, the increased intake of sugar and ready availability of sweet treats is likely to be one of the leading factors.

    As we all know, obesity can lead to a number of problems, including heart diseases, certain cancers and diabetes.[ii] But does cutting sugar and switching to artificial additives help people lose weight? Unfortunately, this is one of those issues that seems to have two conflicting bodies of evidence.

    Research presented by the Canadian Medical Association Journal that took a huge pool of associated research, some of which was performed over a 10-year period, actually found that when people consumed beverages sweetened with artificial additives such as aspartame on a daily basis they were at an increased chance of developing heart disease and becoming obese.[iii] However, one thing that is important to take into account when reviewing this information is that these studies are hardy going to track every single item of food or drink that these subjects consumed during this time, and many of them focus purely on drinks. Yes, subjects may have had a diet cola, but is it just as likely they consumed this alongside unhealthy foods and other things that may be full of sugar? It’s impossible to tell where the weight gain stems from.

    On the flip side, the evidence in favour of artificial sweeteners as a means of weight management seems logical, at least. If you consider an average can of fizzy drink can contain around 140 calories, then it makes sense that by swapping to an alternative with an artificial sweetener that provides zero or very few calories that weight loss can be better managed. However, as the previous study suggests, this is not necessarily a black and white issue. In fact, other studies have suggested that because artificial sweeteners activate certain parts of our brains that cause hunger, people make up the calorific deficiency by eating more food. However, there’s also the argument that as diet drinks are marketed towards people who are likely to be wanting to lose weight already, their calorific intake may be coming entirely from bad food choices and this is just cause and effect data misinterpretation. As you can see, the issue is a difficult one to decipher.

     

    Oral health

    As dental professionals, perhaps the more pressing issue is the impact both sugar and artificial sweeteners can have on oral health. Sugar is undoubtedly bad for our teeth, causing increased incidence of decay – but are artificial sweeteners as bad?

    Again, this seems like a contentious issue. Some studies put forward the argument that these substances are just as bad for teeth as they soften the tooth enamel, leaving teeth more prone to decay.[iv]

    Conversely, other sources claim that because oral bacteria feed off of sugar, artificial sweeteners are a much better option as they do not allow this process to take place, thus inhibiting plaque formation. Furthermore, some artificial sweeteners such as xylitol have been found to have benefits for oral health due to antibacterial properties.[v]

     

    What should you suggest?

    In the end, it’s clear that more independent research needs to be carried out to determine whether artificial sweeteners are in fact safe or harbouring some unpleasant health effects. It could very well be a case of “better the devil you know” and sugar may be less damaging, or artificial sweeteners could be being falsely maligned.

    Due to this uncertainty, professionals should recommend patients stick to drinks that don’t contain either of these things, such as milk or water. We may one day know whether we can trust artificial sweeteners fully, but until then it’s better to be safe than sorry.

     

     For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

    Or visit www.endocare.co.uk

    [i] The House of Commons Library. Obesity Statistics Briefing Paper, Number 3336 6th August 2019. Link: file:///Users/writer/Downloads/SN03336.pdf

    [ii] NHS. Obesity. Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/ [Last accessed August 19].

    [iii] Time Magazine. Artificial Sweeteners Are Linked to Weight Gain—Not Weight Loss. Link: https://time.com/4859012/artificial-sweeteners-weight-loss/ [Last accessed August 19].

    [iv] Oral Health CRC. The Potential of Sugar-Free Beverages, Sugar-Free Confectionary and Sports Drink to Cause Dental Erosion. Link: http://www.oralhealthcrc.org.au/sites/default/files/Dental%20Erosion%20Briefing%20Paper_FINAL2015.pdf [Last accessed August 19].

    [v] New York Times. Sweet Tooth. Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/science/are-sugar-substitutes-bad-for-teeth.html [Last accessed August 19].