What is Xylitol and how can it help protect your teeth?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that does not cause cavities and actually helps protect your teeth! Many gums and mints are now sweetened exclusively with xylitol.
Most people know that consuming sugar can cause cavities, but did you know that there are natural alternatives that are actually good for your teeth?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener derived from birch bark, and is commonly used in sugar-free gum and other products.
How Does Xylitol Help Your Teeth?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, which, despite the name, is a type of carbohydrate that does not actually contain alcohol. While it can replace sugar as a sweetener, xylitol contains 40% fewer carbohydrates and does not significantly increase blood glucose.
Most importantly for your dental health, xylitol does not feed the bacteria that cause cavities!
In fact, research has shown that regular use of xylitol can greatly reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria. There are currently many xylitol containing products on the market, including gums, mints, and even powder form for baking or adding to drinks.
Are There Any Negative Effects of Xylitol?
While xylitol is naturally derived and generally very safe, some people can experience digestive problems such as diarrhea from consuming xylitol in excess, or more than 15 grams per day.
For the maximum cavity-fighting effect, it is recommended to use a xylitol product 3-5 times per day.
Even then, most gum contains only about 1 gram of xylitol, which is much less than the amount that would cause discomfort for most individuals.