What is Xylitol and does it Prevent Cavities?

What is Xylitol and does it Prevent Cavities?

What is Xylitol and does it Prevent Cavities?

What is Xylitol and does it Prevent Cavities?

What is Xylitol and does it Prevent Cavities?

Look around and you can find xylitol in everything from sugarless candy to mouthwashes. You may be wondering about this popular sweetener. Is it really effective in preventing cavities?


At Pediatric Dental Group, we want you to have the best information to protect your children’s teeth and health. Here are the facts about xylitol.


What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and is a compound that all fruits and vegetables have in small amounts. It looks like white crystals and tastes like sugar but has fewer calories. 


Although xylitol is a sugar alcohol, it won’t make you drunk the way the ethyl alcohol found in beer and liquor does. It’s low in carbohydrates and doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels.


Where Does Xylitol Come From?


Xylitol comes from xylose, a wood sugar. It can be harvested from birch sap, but most producers prefer using a corn extract to make xylitol because corn is more sustainable.


The human body can also produce xylitol naturally. The average adult can produce about 15 grams of xylitol every day.


Is Xylitol Safe?

Xylitol is safe so long as you consume it in moderation. Consume no more than 30 grams of xylitol per day to avoid discomforts such as gas or diarrhea.


While it has no nutritional value, when used as a sugar substitute xylitol can prevent weight gain and improve symptoms associated with diabetes. It has a very low glycemic index and fewer calories than sugar.


How Is Xylitol Effective in Preventing Cavities?

Xylitol is effective in preventing cavities because it weakens the harmful elements that can cause them. It is better for your children's teeth than sugar and can help your children's teeth in these important ways.


1. Xylitol Doesn't Lead to Tooth Enamel Damage, Unlike Sugar


When you eat sugar, the harmful bacteria in your mouth digests it and produces acids that can attack the enamel in your teeth. The enamel gets worn down and cavities form.

The destructive bacteria also produce dental plaque, a sticky film that builds up on your teeth. Too much of that plaque and your immune system goes into attack mode.


2. Xylitol Starves Out Harmful Bacteria

The harmful bacteria that cause these oral problems can't feed on xylitol. Eliminate the sugar and the bacteria has less fuel to cause tooth problems.

Not only can harmful bacteria not get the nutrients it needs from xylitol, but they can't consume anything else afterward. Bacteria that absorb xylitol can't consume the glucose it needs to survive and dies as a result.


3. Xylitol Could Also Make Your Teeth Stronger

Studies have recently shown that xylitol can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes bone loss. Rats that were fed a diet that included xylitol had stronger bones than those that didn't take the sweetener.


Add xylitol to your diet, and your body can more easily absorb calcium. Your teeth will be stronger as well as your bones.


4. Xylitol Reduces Gum Inflammation

As plaque builds up on your teeth, over time you can develop gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. That inflammation can lead to other chronic illnesses, including heart disease.


Because xylitol kills the harmful bacteria that produce plaque, it prevents gum inflammation. Regular consumption of gum or candy with xylitol can help prevent the health problems associated with inflammation.


Helping Your Child by Preventing Cavities

Providing excellent dental and oral care as well as preventing cavities is our goal at Pediatric Dental Group. Your child is a unique individual who needs care based on maturity and emotional needs. We strive to teach your child the best ways to care for their teeth. Learn more about the services we have to offer. Call our Lihue or Honolulu, Hawaii offices to schedule an appointment for your child.

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