Sugar is a primary cause of tooth decay. Halloween launched a long sugar-laden season in our diets — one that runs through Christmas and the New Year. However, there is an effective way you can reduce the amount of sugar you consume — and thereby limiting the damage it can do to your teeth — by using a new natural sweetener – Xylitol.
Why Use Xylitol
Xylitol has a delicious, sweet taste, with no unpleasant aftertaste. It has about a third the calories of table sugar, and is a healthy alternative for diabetics. In addition to making an excellent sugar substitute, Xylitol aids in the prevention of dental caries (cavities) and reduces plaque formation.
When exposed to Xylitol, harmful bacteria lose their ability to adhere to tooth surfaces and die. This happens because while bacteria can ingest Xylitol, they cannot digest it. As a result, they do not produce the acid byproducts that cause decay. Besides this antibacterial benefit, Xylitol increases salivary flow and fluoride penetration of teeth, while it also assists in remineralization of damaged tooth enamel.
How to Use Xylitol
Xylitol is most effective when used in small amounts (in the form of gum, mints, or candy) after meals and snacks. This way, you clean your mouth of bacteria right after eating. We encourage Xylitol users to aim for five Xylitol uses per day to ensure the best dental results.
Look for Xylitol as the lone sweetening ingredient in candies and gum. A quick web search will identify Xylitol-containing products, as well as a list of locations where you can buy it in bulk.
To learn more about Xylitol, or any other dental topic, call our office 419-475-6554.