Xylitol: The Sugar That Prevents Cavities

If you want to prevent cavities, you’ve got to find a way to prevent demineralization. Demineralization happens when bacteria breaks down sugars in the foods we eat and drink, and then produces a steady flow of acid that destroys the calcium and phosphate bonds in our teeth. Unfortunately, if you lose enough of these essential minerals, a cavity forms.

Proper brushing and flossing habits can certainly help control cavity causing bacteria and acids in your mouth. However, there is another powerful weapon that can keep your pearly whites healthy and protected – xylitol.

Xylitol is a natural sugar, not an artificial sweetener. It is a carbohydrate, derived from corncob stalks. Xylitol looks and tastes like table sugar, but contains only 2.4 calories per gram, providing 40% fewer calories than other carbohydrates.

How does this natural sugar prevent tooth decay?

Essentially, xylitol stops the chain reaction that causes cavities. The bad bacteria in your mouth mistake xylitol for sugar and bring it into their cellular walls. Over time, the unusable xylitol builds up inside the cell and eventually clogs up the bacteria’s digestive system. This halts the production of acids and in turn prevents demineralization and cavities. Dental experts recommend that you get a regular dose of 6-8 grams of xylitol per day to fully reap the benefits of its smile protection powers.

There have been studies for over 40 years that report the effective prevention of caries in xylitol users. A three-year study in Hungary with nearly 700 students showed that having xylitol sweetened candy several times each day reduced the incidence of caries better than fluoridated toothpaste or fluoride in milk!

The California Dental Association explains xylitol’s incredible power this way:
“Xylitol inhibits the growth of the bacteria that cause cavities. It does this because these bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) cannot utilize xylitol to grow. Over time with xylitol use, the quality of the bacteria in the mouth changes and fewer and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces. Less plaque forms and the level of acids attacking the tooth surface is lowered.”

Xylitol is conveniently available in chewing gum form. If you are interested in protecting your smile from tooth decay, why not consider adding xylitol gum to your daily oral hygiene habit. Take advantage of the only sugar that is good for your teeth!

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