Besides good toothbrushes and dental floss, fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes, and certain sugar-free chewing gums, there aren’t many over-the-counter products that get the seal of approval from reputable dentists. Today, however, Fresno dentists Dr. Claudia Denes and Dr. Alex Denes want to discuss the newest dental health booster out there: xylitol.
What is Xylitol?
As a naturally occurring carbohydrate, xylitol is found in fibrous fruits and vegetables, as well as in the human body. An average healthy adult produces up to fifteen grams of xylitol on a daily basis. Xylitol in its purest form is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes just like traditional sugar.
In fact, xylitol has been used as a food sweetener since the 1960s. Because it’s slowly absorbed and partially utilized by the body, xylitol contains forty percent less calories per gram than other carbohydrates. Additionally, the human body does not need insulin to metabolize xylitol, so it’s a helpful and healthy food-enhancer for diabetics.
How does Xylitol Enhance My Dental Health?
Most people are surprised to learn that a substance used to sweeten food can actually be used to enhance dental health. In addition to providing overall health benefits, including clearing the nasal passages, preventing ear infections, reducing intraocular pressure, and assisting in eating healthier and losing weight, xylitol provides the following dental health benefits:
- Because xylitol is a natural sweeter that is derived from the fibrous parts of plants, it does not break down like sugar, maintaining a neutral pH level in the mouth and preventing bacteria from sticking to the teeth. For these reasons, xylitol protects the teeth from tooth decay.
- Oral bacteria feast on the sugar and starches from the foods and drinks you consume, but the same bacteria are unable to digest xylitol. This causes the number of bacteria in your mouth to greatly decrease, forcing the amount of acid in your mouth to plummet. Without acid, the bacteria are unable to stick to the surface of your teeth, decreasing the amount of dental plaque and resulting tooth decay in your smile.
- Your saliva protects your mouth and teeth by remineralizing the tooth enamel after you eat and drink. Because of its alkaline content, xylitol can actually help saliva repair areas of tooth enamel that are weak and in the early stages of decay, reducing cavities and nourishing your teeths’ natural defense system.
How can I Consume Xylitol?
Most experts recommend consuming at least five servings of xylitol per day to reap the dental and overall health benefits. You can consume xylitol by using xylitol-enriched toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray and by consuming xylitol-enriched gum and mints.
For more information about how to enhance your dental health on a daily basis, call Fresno Dental Studio in Fresno, California at (559) 297-1800. We serve patients from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.