Benefits for oral health

Posted: 03 October 2016

The beneficial role of low calorie sweeteners in dental health is well established. Reviewing the scientific data in 2011, EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products Nutrition and Allergies concluded that there is sufficient scientific information to support the claims that intense sweeteners, as all sugar replacers, maintain tooth mineralisation by decreasing tooth demineralisation if consumed instead of sugars.Based on this scientific opinion from EFSA, the European Commission authorised the health claim that the consumption of foods containing low calorie sweeteners instead of sugar contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralisation.

Low calorie sweeteners are tooth-friendly ingredients

The most common oral diseases, caries and periodontal diseases, are largely preventable and more caution needs to be put into prevention and self-care. Caries are caused by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates on tooth surfaces after meals and snacks, causing demineralization of the hard tissues.

On the other hand, low calorie sweeteners are not fermentable, and do not contribute to tooth decay, and that is why they have the benefit of being tooth-friendly ingredients.

Studies also show that products such as sugar-free chewing gum, which contains low calorie sweeteners, substantially reduce the risk of tooth decay. In 2010 EFSA concluded that there is a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of sugar-free chewing gum and reduction of tooth demineralisation and incidence of caries.

Low calorie sweeteners are also frequently used in toothpaste, mouthwashes and fluoride supplements that assist dental hygiene.

For more information on the role of low calorie sweeteners in oral health you may download the ISA factsheet 'Low calorie sweeteners and their beneficial role in oral health' and the infographic 'Low calorie sweeteners in dental health: tooth-friendly ingredients'.


  1. EFSA NDA (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products Nutrition and Allergies). Scientific opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to intense sweeteners and contribution to the maintenance or achievement of a normal body weight (ID 1136, 1444, 4299), reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses (ID 4298), maintenance of normal blood glucose concentrations (ID 1221, 4298), and maintenance of tooth mineralisation by decreasing tooth demineralisation (ID 1134, 1167, 1283) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA 2011 Journal 9: 2229.
  2. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health