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Xylitol: A Sugar Free and Tooth Friendly Sweetener

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What if a person could cut tooth decay by 25%? That would be fantastic. Don’t you agree?

What if you could have 40 percent fewer cavities? Would that pique your interest?

Dentists have been addressing the issue of tooth decay for decades. There have been numerous hypotheses and approaches. These include everything from focusing on home care to managing dietary components to utilising chemical agents like chlorhexidine and fluoride.

Most of us would agree that a 25% to 40% reduction in dental decay would be ideal. But, what if a mother could help her five-year-old child reduce tooth decay by up to 70% without putting in too much effort? (This is in comparison to youngsters who received fluoride or chlorhexidine varnish.)

Simply said, this is a MAJOR DEAL.

Other studies have found that moms who performed this two to three times a day, beginning three months after delivery and continuing until their child was two years old, lowered the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in their children up to the age of six.

What is the secret? The mothers chewed xylitol gum.

What exactly is xylitol? It is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol sweetener found in the fibres of numerous fruits and vegetables. It is most often produced from maize husks and birch. It is tooth-friendly as well as diabetic-friendly.

What makes it so unique? Unlike sucrose, or regular table sugar, xylitol does not ferment, resulting in acid production that erodes tooth enamel. On the contrary, the organic structure of xylitol permits it to aid in the remineralization of enamel before degradation forms. Saliva containing xylitol is also more alkaline than saliva containing other sweets, making it less likely to cause decay. It also has various chemical features that aid in tooth remineralization. In the 1970s, studies in Finland found that those who chewed sucrose gum had about three decaying, missing, or filled teeth, compared to about one such tooth in a group that consumed xylitol gum.

Xylitol also has a more specific anti-bacterial activity that may be responsible for tooth decay control. It is known to inhibit the Streptococcus mutans bacterial group, which is a major contributor to the cavity-causing process. It can also be used as a nasal spray since it inhibits Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae on nose and throat cells.

The FDA approves the marketing of xylitol as a product that does not induce tooth decay.

Are there any dangers? While there is no known toxicity to xylitol in humans, if consumed in excess of a person’s particular threshold for this type of sugar alcohol, transitory gastrointestinal (GI) side effects such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea may develop.

In general, these effects lessen over time, and a person’s threshold for xylitol consumption without the laxative or GI impact rises.

Important information for dog owners: dogs who consumed excessive quantities of xylitol (more than 100 mg per kilogramme of body weight) had dangerous decreases in blood sugar. Extremely high amounts (500 to 1000 mg/kg body weight) have also been linked to liver failure in dogs. Xylitol does not appear to have the same impact on cats, and when added to their water, it has been shown to reduce plaque and tartar.

Xylitol can be found in toothpastes, mouthwashes, nasal spray, chocolates, jams, lollipops, and as a granule. When used as a sugar substitute, it is usually used in the same proportion as table sugar. It tastes like sugar, but without the aftertaste that many other artificial sweeteners have.

However, the source of your xylitol may be an additional risk factor. Some readers may be aware of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent warning to consumers to throw out all toothpaste made in China after the agency discovered a toxin widely used in anti-freeze in toothpaste tested in three U.S. cities. Unfortunately, similar problems have been raised concerning Chinese xylitol.

If you buy from a domestic distributor, you should inquire about the xylitol’s origin. Check to see if your “xylitol” gum contains aspartame, a potentially harmful sweetener with several reported negative effects such as memory loss, brain lesions, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few.

So, how much xylitol do you need to consume in order to benefit from cavity-fighting properties? According to most research, approximately six grammes are required to get a result. This equates to about twelve pieces of gum every day.

Hmmm. Should you spend several hours in the dentist‘s chair or chew gum six times a day? You make the call.

The next revolution in dental care is about to begin. You can take better care of your teeth with our easy-to-use dental resources. From whitening and bonding to crowns and implants, you’ll find a wealth of information at your fingertips and the dentist near me, who cares about your dental and overall health.

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