What is Xylitol and How Can it Help My Teeth?

Posted by Legacy Dental Clinic Dec 22, 2022

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Xylitol is a sweetener commonly found in chewing gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Xylitol has dental health benefits, such as preventing tooth decay and reducing plaque. However, it can also cause health problems if too much is consumed.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that is found in many fruits and vegetables, including raspberries and strawberries. It has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries and can be consumed by anyone without worry of developing an intolerance to it. In fact, the cavity-fighting properties of xylitol may even make it suitable for those who are allergic to sugar!

Unlike table sugar, which contains glucose and fructose, xylitol is made of 100% xylose. This substance cannot be broken down by the bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for tooth decay, making it an excellent alternative to regular sugar. Furthermore, xylitol may help kill harmful bacteria while also strengthening the teeth’s protective outer layers.

Many chewing gums and toothpastes now include xylitol because it is effective in protecting teeth from decay while also being safe for diabetics to use. Studies have shown that those who regularly use products containing xylitol have lower instances of gum disease than those who do not use them.

However, not all gums or toothpastes contain the same amount of xylitol. Make sure to check the packaging to verify how much is in each product. Also, try to limit your consumption of other sugary foods to keep your teeth safe from decay.

Certain sugarless gum brands contain more xylitol than others, so be sure to pick one with high amounts of the substance. Some popular brands of sugar-free gums that contain large amounts of xylitol are Orbit, Ice Breakers, and Trident. Keep in mind that many candies also contain small amounts of xylitol to act as their sweetening ingredient.

While consuming too much xylitol can cause side effects like bloating, nausea, and a laxative effect, it poses no threat to the human body. Studies show that ingesting even large quantities of this substance was not shown to have any negative health effects.

How Does Xylitol Work?

When bacteria in the mouth break down sugar, they produce acid as a byproduct. This acid slowly wears away tooth enamel, causing cavities to form in the areas where the acid has eaten through protective tooth enamel.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that can actually prevent cavities and tooth decay from forming in the first place! Because it is so much sweeter than regular table sugar, you can naturally reduce how much sugar you consume without noticing the difference at all.

Of course, if you consume a lot of acidic drinks or foods – like citrus fruits, coffee and other dark-colored sodas – you should hold off on eating sweets with xylitol in them for at least 30 minutes afterward. This way, your saliva has a chance to neutralize the acids before they can do too much damage to your teeth.

What are the Benefits of Using Xylitol?

Using xylitol instead of sugar has many benefits for your teeth and your mouth as a whole. Here are just a handful of reasons why you may want to switch out your usual sweetener for xylitol:

  • It has fewer calories than table sugar, making it a great natural substitute if you are trying to lose weight. By substituting it for sugar in your cooking or baking, you will automatically cut out hundreds of calories from your diet on a daily basis.
  • The bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on the sugars and carbs you eat. If you switch to xylitol instead, the harmful bacteria will be unable to break it down and therefore your risk of cavities is reduced significantly.
  • It can help reduce inflammation in your mouth, helping to reduce bleeding gums, dry mouth, and other common signs of inflammation that you may experience in the dentist’s chair.
  • Flossing your teeth will become easier if you use this product as you won’t experience as much buildup on your teeth and gums as you do with regular sugar products. This can help reduce your overall risk of developing gum disease.
  • Studies have shown that it can reduce ear infections in young children when used in pacifiers; this is due to the fact that the bacteria that causes these infections can’t break down this substance as well.

If you want to try the benefits of using xylitol, contact us, Legacy Dental Clinic. Our team here can help direct you find the best products that contain this ingredient so that you can get started right away!

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