Preventing cavities with xylitol !

- Did you know that consuming just a little bit of xylitol each day can help to reduce your risk for tooth decay by over 60%? That's a pretty astounding number for something that's a table sugar substitute.

Background about Xylitol.

Just in case you don't know, xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar compound (technically, a "sugar-alcohol").

In granular form, you can use it to sweeten foods and beverages, just like sucrose (table sugar). Or it can be used in specialty products such as chewing gum, mints, candies, oral rinses or even toothpaste.

If xylitol is so great, why don't you already know about it?

Here in the USA, xylitol really doesn't seem to be promoted all that enthusiastically by dentists or the media. But in other parts of the world, especially Europe and Asia, its anti-cavity benefits have been well publicised for decades.

As proof of its popularity elsewhere, in South Korea and Japan the best selling sugar-free chewing gum brands are sweetened with xylitol.

What you need to know.

Use the links below to learn more about xylitol and how its use can lower your decay rate.

a) How effective is it?

As mentioned above, daily consumption of the proper amount of xylitol can reduce your risk for tooth decay on the order of 60%. Better yet, this protection will continue on for several months, possibly even years, after you've totally stopped using it.

Even more amazingly, there's a phenomenon that can occur where a mother's anti-cavity protection is passed on to her child, even though the child has never had any direct exposure at all. (Use the link above for more information about all of xylitol's benefits.)

b) How does it work?

Research suggests that xylitol defends against cavities via a couple of different mechanisms, and our pages explain how each of them works. But don't worry, the science involved is all pretty basic.

c) Is it safe? Are there side effects?

Since xylitol is a food item, it offers a very safe way to step up your level of anti-cavity protection. And those few side effects that may occur are usually managed quite easily.

2 tsp. of granular xylitol a day can help to prevent tooth decay.
Click image for details.

d) How much xylitol intake do you need?

Dosing levels are important. A certain minimum daily consumption is needed but ingesting more does not produce more anti-cavity effect.

Each day's exposure should be divided up so that it's consumed throughout the day. And a person's regimen must be continued on for several months before maximum protection is established.

Xylitol candy.
Click image for details.

e) How to choose effective xylitol products.

You could get your daily xylitol exposure just by sprinkling it on the foods and beverages you regularly eat (you use it just like regular table sugar).

Or, if you prefer, you can get it from specially formulated products such as chewing gum, mints, candies, chocolate, syrups, oral rinses or toothpaste.

Of course, some products are better than others. Our pages show you different ways you can use to identify the best ones.



Input from site visitors.

Xylitol doesn't taste bad but it's not exactly like sugar either. I like it fine but my husband doesn't.

It's not exactly the same but, really, I've gotten to the point where I prefer it.

I just use it in tea and coffee. I just use a small amount (trying to spread out my dosing evenly over the day) and use artificial sweetener to finish things off.

I can absolutely tell a difference when I don't use xylitol and have gotten to the point where that's my preference.

I think this is hype. Xylitol is NOT anticariogenic. It is simply not fermentable and in gum it promotes increased salivation which can remineralize early cavities. It has no effect on diminishing cavity causing bacteria.

We agree that the act of chewing gum provides anti-cavity effects on its own. In fact, we have an entire page dedicated to the subjectof why getting part or all of your xylitol dosing via chewing-gum makes such a good choice.

As far as the effect of xylitol on cavity-causing bacteria, this study from 2006 found a reduction in mutans streptocci levels (a type of bacteria instrumental in causing tooth decay) in both dental plaque and saliva with increased levels of xylitol exposure. It also discusses how levels of other types of oral bacteria were not affected by the xylitol.

This is a nice site. Thank you for the information.

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