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Looking for an Easy Way to Improve Your Dental Health? Try Xylitol!

xylitol dental care

Products That Contain Xylitol

Would you like to improve your dental health with xylitol? These products may contain the natural sweetener:

  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Breath mints
  • Chewing gum
  • Candy
  • Sugar-free baked goods
  • Chewable vitamins
  • Peanut butter

Things to Keep in Mind When Using Xylitol

Make sure that xylitol is listed as the first ingredient when you buy a product. If it is not, the product probably does not contain enough of the sweetener to provide a real benefit.

Use a gram or two of xylitol at a time. Brush your teeth with xylitol paste in the morning, pop a mint after your mid-morning snack, chew gum that contains the sweetener after meals, and use xylitol mouthwash before you go to bed.

Keep xylitol out of the reach of pets. Xylitol can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia in dogs. Cats are finicky enough that most of them turn their noses up at products that contain the sweetener, but since it's not known yet if cats have a similar sensitivity, it's best to keep foods and dental products away from all of your pets.

Would you like to significantly reduce your cavity risk? Xylitol, a natural sweetener, offers impressive cavity-fighting properties that can help you avoid tooth decay.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a fiber found naturally in berries, vegetables and fruits. It's often used as an alternative to sugar and is found in products ranging from gum to toothpaste. The powdered form of xylitol looks very much like sugar, although it contains 40 percent fewer calories.

How Can Xylitol Improve My Dental Health?

It may seem hard to believe that a sweetener could actually be good for your teeth, but xylitol offers some unusual benefits including:

  • Disruption of Plaque. Plaque, a colorless bacterial film, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink, the sugar in foods and beverages mixes with the bacteria on your teeth to create acids responsible for tooth decay. Sugar and other carbohydrates have a six-carbon structure, while xylitol only has a five-carbon structure. Because of that structural difference, xylitol cannot combine with the common oral bacteria, Strep Mutans, which prevents the formation of enamel-destroying acids. Xylitol products also stop bacteria from sticking to your teeth, make plaque removal easier, and reduce plaque build up.

  • Saliva Benefits. Saliva plays an important role in your dental health. It helps reduce bacteria in your mouth, washes away food particles, helps the mouth maintain a neutral pH level, breaks down food, prevents bad breath, moistens your gums and mouth and strengthens your tooth enamel. Xylitol raises the pH level of your saliva, making easier for calcium, fluoride and phosphate in the saliva to penetrate and repair tooth enamel.

Numerous studies have proven that xylitol is effective in improving oral health. In one study, children who were given gummy bear snacks containing xylitol experienced a reduction of the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Korean researchers discovered that xylitol decreases inflammation that commonly occurs in people who have gum disease.

How Much Xylitol Do I Need?

You do not need to use much xylitol to enjoy the sweetener's benefits. Just five to 10 grams daily is enough to reduce the tooth decay risk for adults and children. Although xylitol is found naturally in foods, those foods do not contain high enough concentrations to make a difference. Foods and oral hygiene products that contain added xylitol provide a more convenient way to take advantage of the sweetener's oral health benefits.

Since plaque continues to form on your teeth throughout the day, it's important to spread out your use of xylitol, rather than just eating or using xylitol-rich foods and products in the morning or evening. "More is better" is not the case with xylitol. In fact, if you ingest too much of the sweetener, you may experience diarrhea. It's best to stick to recommended dosages to avoid emergency trips to the bathroom.

Adding xylitol to your diet is a simple way to reduce calories and keep your smile healthy. In addition to using the sweetener daily, regular dental visits can help you protect your teeth. Call us today, whether you have a dental issue or just need to schedule an exam.

Sources:

Journal of Periodontology: Xylitol, an Anticaries Agent, Exhibits Potent Inhibition of Inflammatory Responses in Human THP-1-Derived Macrophages Infected With Porphyromonas gingivalis, 06/14

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4775082/

RDH: Wonders of Xylitol

http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-31/issue-4/features/wonders-of-xylitol.html

Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, 11/10/14

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4232036/

DentistryiQ: The Benefits of Xylitol for Your Dental Patients Are Numerous, 12/10/14

http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2014/12/the-benefits-of-xylitol-for-your-dental-patients-are-numerous.html

FDA: Xylitol and Your Dog: Danger, Paws Off, 05/12/16

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm499988.htm

National Institute of Dental And Craniofacial Research: Dental Caries in Adults

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/DentalCariesAdults20to64.htm

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