Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in fruits and vegetables, and even produced in our bodies; the xylitol in gum and mints is extracted from corncobs and birch trees. It tastes just like sugar, however it has fewer calories than sugar and does not need insulin to metabolize it, thereby making it safe for people with diabetes. With most sugars, bacteria feed upon them producing acids that increase tooth decay and an environment conducive to increased bacteria production. This is not the case with xylitol; regular use of this sweetener starves the bacteria resulting in a decrease in acid production,
With most sugars, bacteria feed upon them producing acids that increase tooth decay and an environment conducive to increased bacteria production. This is not the case with xylitol; regular use of this sweetener starves the bacteria resulting in a decrease in acid production, decrease in bacteria load, less plaque build-up, healthier gums, fewer cavities, and a long-term decrease in the oral bacteria, which results in good long term benefits. Some studies have shown that using xylitol 3-5 times a day can decrease susceptibility of getting cavities by 75%.
Tooth decay is a bacterial infection! The bacteria that are implicated in tooth decay can easily be transferred from one person to another, from parent to child, child-to-child, caregiver to child. By using xylitol regularly, that transmission decreases. Regular use of xylitol also decreases ear infections, sinus problems, and the effects of asthma.
Chewing xylitol gum or sucking on the mints will increase salivary flow, which can help aid in remineralization or strengthening of the tooth by helping to move the calcium from the outer surface of the tooth to the deeper layers, also increasing tooth hardness.
Xylitol has a glycemic index of 7; sugar’s glycemic index is 83.
- 1 tsp granulated xylitol is 4 grams
- gum 0.7-1.2 grams per piece
- mints 0.5 grams per mint
- Spry, Epic, Zellies, PUR, and Xylichew are GMO free
Granulated xylitol, 4 grams per teaspoon. Can be used with coffee and tea, or other beverage, as well as when baking.
Spiffies are Xylitol wipes. They are great for babies even before their first tooth erupts to lower cavity causing bacteria. Can benefit all ages, especially the infirm.
The effects of xylitol use 5 times a day with no other changes in oral hygiene.
Xylitol products that are available include:
- Time released moisturizers
- Oral sprays
- Nasal sprays
- Granulated xylitol
- Jams and jellies
Links to Xylitol Resources
- Xlear has a wide array of products under the names Spry, Xylosweet, and Nature’s Hollow
- Epic makes gum, mints, granulated xylitol, toothpaste, and mouthwash
- Oracoat makes Xylimelts, oral adhering discs, which will work for several hours and can be used during sleep. These are available at Walgreens or online
- Basic bites are sugar-free soft chews that help maintain proper pH and have calcium to help remineralize or harden the tooth
- Salese lozenges are sustained-release that inhibit bacteria growth, normalize oral pH, and help with dry mouth discomfort
- Click here for more information on xylitol