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All You Need to Know About Xylitol and Tooth Decay

It’s no secret that tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems in the United States. Approximately 90% adults experience tooth decay at least once in their life. However, it is also one of the easiest to prevent and treat diseases and research shows new and improved solutions to combatting tooth decay.

Xylitol: What is it?

This is where Xylitol comes in. It is a substitute for sugar and comes from the fiber in xylitol plants. It is also found abundantly in lots of fruits and vegetables. While it looks and tastes exactly like sugar, it doesn’t have any of the negative impacts of sugar on our overall and dental health. Isn’t that fascinating?

Where can you find xylitol?

As a sugar alcohol, it has characteristics of both alcohol and sugar molecules. Its atomic and chemical structure allows for the taste receptors in the mouth to be enhanced and taste sweet things. It is used very commonly in making sugar-free chewing gums, mints, sugar free food, candies as well as dental care products such as toothpaste! You can even buy it in its raw state to use as a sweetener instead of sugar for baking and cooking.

Xylitol in toothpaste and gum

Research shows that using toothpaste, which contains xylitol to brush your teeth twice a day can be beneficial for dental health. Using this toothpaste can cut down cavities by 13% as compared to using a toothpaste which contains only fluoride.

Sugar free gum which contains xylitol is effective in preventing tooth decay. This is because bacteria in the mouth feed on glucose, which results from breaking down sugar. Replacing sugar with xylitol causes them to starve and reduces the chances of infections in the mouth.  

Reducing inflammation in the gums and the buildup of plaque in the mouth is the best way to avoid harmful infections in the mouth. It also has a positive impact on your overall health as you avoid the negative effects of sugar.

Is Xylitol safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved xylitol, hence marking it safe to be used as a sweetener. However, while it may be useful in preventing tooth decay it has limited to no nutritional value.

However, xylitol is considered toxic for all canines. If your dog consumes xylitol accidentally, immediately take them to a vet.

Consult your dentist before you implement any changes to you diet or lifestyle that might impact your dental health. Visit Dr. King’s Family Dentistry for comprehesive dental care and a wide range of dental services. Contact us for more information.