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Dentist Pens an Ode to the Benefits of Aspartame

aspartame: gvictoria/ istock / Getty Images Plus

A Lawrence, Massachusetts dentist is hoping to avoid throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater in light of the recent announcement from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — part of the World Health Organization — that aspartame may be carcinogenic to humans. Melissa A. Weintraub, DDS, writes from the perspective of a dentist and a mother of three children that non-nutritive sweeteners play an important role in oral health. Her editorial was published in the online publication STAT, which covers health, medicine, and the life sciences.

Weintraub noted that the research demonstrating a link between aspartame and cancer is hardly strong, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement opposing the IARC’s position that a cancer risk exists.

“Aspartame being labeled by IARC as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ does not mean that aspartame is actually linked to cancer. FDA scientists reviewed the scientific information included in IARC’s review in 2021 when it was first made available and identified significant shortcomings in the studies on which IARC relied,” the statement read.

Citing the advantages of satisfying the desire for sweetness without increasing caries risk as well as the demonstrated ability of chewing sugar-free gum to reduce tooth decay, Weintraub suggests that a more in-depth examination of risks vs benefits be undertaken.

From Decisions in Dentistry. September 2023; 1(8):10.


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