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Jeffrey J. Stasch, DDS
Creating Beautiful Smiles

Xylitol For Cavity Prevention

The Dental Benefits of Xylitol for Teeth

Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars we eat. When you eat food containing ordinary sugar (sucrose), it gives bacteria on your teeth energy, allowing them to multiply and start making acids that can eat away the enamel on the teeth. This "acid attack" causes tooth decay and cavities to begin to form. 

 Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. It does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. This is how it protects the teeth from tooth decay. With the dental benefits of Xylitol, the acid attack that would otherwise last for over half an hour is stopped. After taking xylitol, the bacteria do not stick well on the surface of the teeth and as a result, the amount of plaque decreases. 

 

Effectiveness of Xylitol

Studies using xylitol as either a sugar substitute or a small dietary addition have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in new tooth decay, along with arrest and even some reversal of existing dental caries. This xylitol benefit is long-lasting and possibly permanent. Low decay rates persist even years after the trials have been completed.

It’s 100% natural.

Xylitol is not an artificial substance, but a normal part of everyday metabolism. Xylitol is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts.

It’s safe.

In the amounts needed to prevent tooth decay (less than 15 grams per day), xylitol benefits and is safe for everyone. The World Health Organization has given xylitol its safest rating for food additives.

It’s convenient to use.

Xylitol can be conveniently delivered to your teeth via chewing gum, tablets, or even candy. You don’t need to change your normal routine to make room for Xylitol.

It tastes great!

One of the best xylitol benefits is its great taste! Xylitol is a health regimen that doesn’t require iron willpower or discipline. Xylitol tastes so good, using it becomes automatic, for both adults and children.

 

How to Use Xylitol

It is not necessary to replace all sweeteners to get the dental benefits of xylitol. Look for xylitol sweetened products that encourage chewing or sucking to keep the xylitol in contact with your teeth. The best items are 100% xylitol. Next best are items where xylitol is the principal sweetener. Always make sure there are no acids in the products.

How much Xylitol should I use?

The older research with xylitol always specified an amount 6-10 grams as being the “sweet spot”. Newer research has actually shown better how to use xylitol, and that the quantity is not the most important, but the number of exposures throughout the day. We want to get at least 4-5 exposures of 100% xylitol spread throughout the day.

How often should I use Xylitol?

If used only occasionally or even as often as once a day, xylitol may NOT be effective, regardless of the amount. Use xylitol at least three, and preferably 5 times every day. Remember the “Strive for 5” program listed on the xylitol.org website.

When should I use Xylitol?

Use immediately upon waking up in the form of toothpaste and mouthwash. If you drink tea or coffee in the morning use xylitol to sweeten it. After breakfast use a candy or chewing gum with xylitol. After lunch use a few pieces of gum or candy, and then again after dinner. Before going to bed in the evening be sure to brush with xylitol toothpaste and use a xylitol mouthwash. There is a dental floss available with xylitol that helps get it in between the teeth.

 

 


Remember that throughout the day any time you would normally use chewing gum or eat candy make sure you are using xylitol sweetened products. There is an increased benefit up to 6-7 times a day

 

Xylitol is widely available in health food stores in a variety of forms such as candy, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, gums, mints, and as a bulk sweetener. You can also order online and there are gums (Ice Breakers Ice Cubes and Mentos,) available in stores containing xylitol. Be sure xylitol is listed as the first ingredient.


Information courtesy of  Xylitol.org.

For more information see: http://www.xylitol.org

 

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