Xylitol – Fight Cavities With Sugar!
Have you seen the sugar alternative known as xylitol? Xylitol is technically a sugar alcohol, not an actual sugar. However, it tastes and behaves very much like regular sugar, making it a great substitute.
Did you know that it can actually play a part in lowering your cavity risk?
Where We Get Xylitol
Xylitol can be manufactured, but it’s largely a natural derivative – a carbohydrate that comes from plants such as corn, strawberries, and raspberries. In it’s crystalline form, xylitol looks a lot like the sugar you’re used to seeing.
How Does it Help?
Because xylitol is so structurally different from other sugars on a molecular level, cavity-causing bacteria cannot break it down the way they normally do. The bacteria that causes cavities, S. mutans, ingests the carbohydrates that you do. These sugars fuel the bacteria to multiply, protect themselves in colonies, and produce acidic waste products.
The bacteria cannot properly digest xylitol. When they try, they essentially starve. Not only this, but the process prevents them from producing the binding agent that helps them bind to teeth.
Increasing your xylitol intake can actually decrease your risk of tooth decay.
Incorporate Xylitol into Your Diet
Xylitol is something our bodies naturally produce during the digestive process. So it’s not likely that ingesting a small amount of xylitol in food sources will cause you any major problems. But to get the cavity-preventing benefits of xylitol, you need to have it in contact with your teeth.
You can use xylitol directly as a drink sweetener, or you can find it as the sweetener in products such as:
- Chewing gum
- Mouth rinses
At our dental office, you can find out whether xylitol is a good choice for you and your family and how to use it effectively.