Xylitol Oral Care Benefits
Xylitol is the only known sweetener that actively promotes dental health. It has a wide variety of dental benefits that work on many levels. That is why it has been widely used as a sweetener in chewing gum and lozenges for over 50 years. Xylitol prevents the formation of cavities in five very important ways:
1. Prevents the growth of bacteria that cause cavities by blocking their metabolism.
2. Sweetens food without being a food/energy source for the bacteria that cause cavities.
3. Remineralizes the tooth enamel.
4. Helps the body absorb calcium during digestion.
5. Triggers saliva production which dilutes tooth-decaying acid.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a “tooth-friendly”, naturally occurring sweetener known as a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols have fewer calories than table sugar and digest slowly if at all. Xylitol is found in the fiber of many trees, fruits, and vegetables. It can be extracted from corn husks & cobs, berries, oats, mushrooms, hardwoods, and the leafy stalks leftover from sugar cane. Products are certified as tooth-friendly if they do not contain or create excessive amounts of food acids.
How Does Xylitol Work?
Cavity-causing bacteria easily digest six-carbon sugars but xylitol is non-fermentable and cannot be used as an energy source. xylitol actually has a similar molecular shape as sugar so the bacteria take it in but get no energy from it. This interferes with the bacteria’s ability to grow and reproduce. Xylitol can also mix with saliva to remineralize the enamel to prevent cavities before they are formed. The molecule structure of xylitol allows calcium to pass more easily into the body during digestion. When the body senses the sweetness of xylitol, it triggers saliva production. Saliva dilutes the acid which destroy our teeth.
Health Benefits of Xylitol
In addition to all the wonderful dental benefits, there are also other healthy reasons to use xylitol. It has one-third fewer calories than white table sugar. It’s not digested as quickly as sugar so it doesn’t contribute to high blood sugar or diabetes. This makes it beneficial for people suffering from metabolic syndrome, a common disorder that includes insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and an increased risk for blood clots. Medical studies have shown that xylitol chewing gum appears to decrease earaches 25% in young children going to daycare. The increased absorption of calcium in the body caused by xylitrol can also slow or prevent broken bones and osteoporosis. Xylitrol can also be used as a nasal spray to fight streptococcus and bacterial influenza.