Stevia the ideal sugar substitute and dental caries prevention
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Dental caries affects people worldwide. The oral microflora has been found to be less responsible than the carbohydrate diet, which is considered the main cause of dental caries. Carbohydrates from sucrose are processed by oral bacteria and acids are produced as a byproduct. High sugar intake is a risk factor for systemic health and for overall health of the oral cavity. Artificial sweeteners are considered a healthy alternative for people who prefer the sweet taste but renounce sucrose. In the United States there are several artificial sweeteners approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Among these, stevia is the only natural sweetener. Stevia is extracted from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Steviol glycosides are extracted from the stevia leaf and refined to get the best taste quality. There are many types of steviol glycosides that are extracted from the stevia plant and the most important steviol glycosides will be discussed in the thesis. Scientific research (PubMed, EMBASE), appropriate websites (Colgate, Pure Circle Stevia Institute), the World Health Organization, HealthInfo Clinical Advisers and vectorstock as well as books in English and in Russian (The Stevia Deception: The Hidden Dangers of Low Calorie Sweeteners By Bruce Fife, and Puti Izbavlenie of Bolezne by Neumyvakin) were consulted. Electronic searches were limited to publications in the past five years. The scope of the thesis is to review the basic statistics on dental caries, the types of caries and the number of people affected, discuss the advantages and benefits of stevia relative to other artificial sweeteners, review the safety of stevia including side effects and potential as an addictive sugar substitute and lastly, to assess and recommend which form of stevia is most effective against dental caries.
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