Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day after eating should be on everyone’s priority list. However, there are ways to protect your oral health beyond the basics. For example, incorporating xylitol into your diet is a great way to prevent tooth decay.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a low-calorie sweetener in foods and beverages. Along with helping you watch your waistline, it is also known for protecting your teeth from the effects of decay. For the best results, use xylitol chewing gum or mints 5 times a day to protect your teeth as well as prevent mouth sores.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural low-calorie sweetener used in foods such as cakes, pies, and muffins as well as in drinks. It has fewer calories than regular sugar and can be used as a sugar substitute, making it ideal for people trying to control their weight and blood sugar levels.
While possibly not as well known, xylitol is similar to other low-calorie sweeteners such as:
- Stevia (natural)
- Sucralose (artificial)
- Saccharin (artificial)
- Aspartame (artificial)
- Monk fruit (natural)
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. It’s been described as tasting very sweet and sharp, giving it a slightly different flavor from regular sugar. This makes it the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth while also looking out for your oral and overall health.
Xylitol can be found as an ingredient in many popular products, including:
- Ice cream
- Nut butters
Xylitol can also be bought at your local grocery store just like any other low-calorie sweetener. This makes it ideal if you enjoy baking or cooking at home but want to skip on the calories included in regular sugar. You can find it in granule form just like regular table sugar.
Click here to learn more about the differences between xylitol and sugar!
Is Xylitol Gum Good for Your Teeth?
We know that this low-calorie sweetener is good for your waistline and blood sugar levels, but is xylitol good for your teeth? In short, yes. Not only is it good for your teeth, but the California Dental Association believes that it may be the best option for cavity prevention out of all sugar alcohols.
Just remember that xylitol is no substitute for:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing at least once per day after eating
- Regular dental checkups and cleanings
Xylitol works by impeding the types of bacteria that eventually lead to tooth decay (Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sangui). This is thanks to the fact that these bacteria can’t feed on xylitol to grow, which helps to reduce your risk of cavities.
Regular use of xylitol products actually begins to affect the quality of bacteria in your mouth. The more you use it, the fewer forms of cavity-causing bacteria are able to survive on the surface of your teeth. This results in less plaque being able to grow and a reduction in acid levels that can harm your teeth’s surface, making it the perfect addition to your oral care regimen.
To learn where other low-calorie sweeteners fall short in protecting your oral health, click here!
What Products Include Xylitol?
Xylitol for oral care can be most commonly found in chewing gum and breath mints. Just make sure to read the label first to ensure that xylitol is an active ingredient. For the best cavity-preventing results, this unique sugar alcohol should be the first ingredient listed.
You can find xylitol oral care products:
- At your local drug, department, or grocery store
- At health food stores
How Often Should I Use Xylitol Products?
As with active ingredients, you will also need to use xylitol chewing gum and mints on a regular basis to reap the full rewards. 5 grams per day is considered optimal with duration and frequency of use also being important factors to consider.
For the best results:
- Use xylitol mints and chewing gum 3 – 5 times per day
- Chew gum for approximately 5 minutes
- Allow mints to dissolve in your mouth
Following these tips will also help protect you from side effects associated with ingesting too much of the active ingredient. Xylitol acts similarly to natural fiber in the large intestine and ingesting too much can have a laxative effect. By controlling your intake, you can prevent these issues while protecting your teeth from the effects of harmful bacteria.
Other Benefits of Xylitol
Xylitol does more for your oral health than just preventing tooth decay — it’s also a great remedy for mouth sores. As an anti-inflammatory, xylitol protects the soft tissue in and around your mouth (angular chelitis) as well as your teeth. According to one 2021 publication, using xylitol mouth rinses and chewing gum may lower the risk of mouth sores for people over the age of 60.
A 2016 analysis found that ingesting xylitol may also help prevent ear infections in children. According to this study, there is some evidence that xylitol in any form can reduce children’s risk by between 22 and 30%. More study is needed and researchers aren’t sure why this is, but it’s important information for parents whose children are vulnerable to ear infections.
Are you looking for your new dentist in Powell, Tennessee? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
Xylitol is a common low-calorie sweetener made from sugar alcohol. Unlike other options like monk fruit and stevia, it’s actually known for protecting your teeth from harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. You can get the best results by using xylitol breath mints and chewing gum 5 times per day. This will also help prevent any side effects from using too much of it.
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