Preventing cavities with the sugar xylitol !
What exactly is Xylitol?
In case you don't know, xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar compound (in chemical terms it's technically classified as a "sugar-alcohol").
In granular form, you can use it to sweeten foods and beverages, just like sucrose (the chemical term for table sugar). Or it can be used to sweeten a wide range of 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?
For whatever reason, here in the USA xylitol really isn't promoted all that extensively by dentists, the media or even manufacturers who make products featuring it. But in other parts of the world, and especially in Europe and Asia, its anti-cavity benefits have been well publicized for decades.
As an example of its popularity elsewhere, in South Korea and Japan the best selling sugar-free chewing gum brands are sweetened with xylitol.
Here are the things that you'll need to know.
(Follow the links in each of the rectangles below to access our pages that give in-depth details about that particular aspect of using xylitol as a preventive for tooth decay.)
As mentioned above, the simple step of creating a daily exposure to the right amount of xylitol (not too much, not too little) can set the stage where you experience a reduction in your risk for tooth decay, possibly on the order of as much as 60%. Better yet, this protection will continue on for several months, possibly even years, after you've totally stopped consuming 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 to xylitol at all. (Use the link in the rectangle above for more information about all of xylitol's benefits.)
Research suggests that xylitol is able to defend a person against cavities via a couple of different mechanisms. Our pages explain how each of them works. But don't worry, the science involved is all just basic stuff.
Since xylitol is a food item, it offers a very safe way to step up your level of anti-cavity protection with essentially no risk. Those few side effects that may occur (typically by consuming too much) are usually managed quite easily.
Most adults only need about this much (2 tsp.) per day.
Dosing levels are important. A certain minimum daily exposure must be created but consuming more does not produce a greater anti-cavity effect. In fact, you don't even have to swallow it to get it's full effect. All that's needed is that some residual amount is left in your mouth for some period of time.
Each day's exposure should be divided up so that it's consumed in small amounts throughout your day. And your regimen must be continued on for several months before you finally get to the point where optimal (maximum) protection is established.
Look for chewing gum, chocolate, syrup and jams too.
You could get your needed full daily exposure just by sprinkling granular xylitol on the foods and into the beverages you normally consume (it looks like, and you use it just like, regular table sugar).
Or if you prefer, you could create your exposure by using specially formulated products such as chewing gum, mints, candies, chocolate, syrups, oral rinses or toothpaste.
Of course, some xylitol products are better than others. Our pages (use the link above) show you the various ways you can use to identify the very best ones.