Xylitol is a non-sugar sweetener that tastes much like refined sugar. Did you know that it has health benefits? It has been shown that habitual use of xylitol, instead of sugar, is associated with a significant reduction in tooth decay, and actually helps teeth get stronger through remineralization. Tooth decay results when (decay producing) mouth bacteria process sugar into a sticky acidic film (plaque) on tooth surfaces. Xylitol is processed very poorly, producing little acid or plaque. This decreases decay rates as well as promotes colonization of less virulent strains of bacteria that can ferment xylitol.
Transmissible Bacterial Disease
Tooth decay is an infectious, transmissible bacterial disease. Most children acquire the bacteria (predominantly Streptococcus Mutans) from their mothers or caregivers by salivary contact during the emergence of the primary teeth between the ages of 6 to 30 months. This is the "discrete window of infectivity." After the initial colonization of S. Mutans, the successful establishment of other bacteria on the tooth surfaces is impaired. It has been demonstrated that a reduction of S. Mutans in the saliva of mothers has resulted in the delayed acquisition of S. Mutans in their children. Remarkably, studies have shown that the habitual chewing of xylitol gum by mothers can decrease the tooth decay rates in their children by preventing the transmission of S. Mutans. There are benefits for children who chew gum.
Xylitol Gum Decrease Tooth Decay
Research has found chewing xylitol gum decreases decay rates significantly up to at least 5 years after xylitol therapy has been discontinued. Children who chew xylitol gum have demonstrated significantly lower decay rates and also a significant number of decay reversals, suggesting that tooth remineralization has occurred. Xylitol candies work just as well as xylitol gum. Xylitol gum can be gotten from your dentist. Xylitol is found in sugar free Trident, sugar free Ice Breakers, sugar free Mentos and sugar free Orbit gum.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309