This is how Xylitol can help Improve your Dental Health!
Xylitol, you have probably heard this word on an diet beverage/drink ad or perhaps seen it on the wrapper of your favorite candy bar. You may have heard that Xylitol is good because of multiple reasons, and we wouldn't be surprised if you have heard of reasons why you shouldn't be using or consuming Xylitol. Now, we are not here to tell you if Xylitol is good or bad for you, but merely to educate you a bit on what Xylitol is and its benefits from a dental point of view.
What is Xylitol?
Contrary to popular believe, Xylitol is in fact a type of a sugar. Xylitol is a type of sugar (polyols) that is often used to substitute or replace table sugar (sucrose), which could be the reason as to why many people believe it's not a sugar.
Xylitol has gain lots of popularity over the last decade and is being used in many foods, drinks, candy and gum because it contains significantly less calories (about 40% less) than "normal" sugar and yet it still tastes sweet.
It should be noted that Xylitol is also being rebranded as birch sugar, presumably to improve its acceptance. So if you hear or see the word birch sugar, it is safe to assume they are referring to Xylitol.
Is Xylitol artificial?
Xylitol is a type of sugar that is naturally found in some fruits and vegetables. Although most commercial xylitol is produced and extracted from corn fiber and birch trees. It should be noted, however, that Xylitol can also be artificially created.
What is the Dental Benefit of using Xylitol?
Most of the benefits of Xylitol come from the the low(er) sugar content, but most importantly from the fact that bacteria in our mouth that causes cavities can NOT metabolize this type of sugar (alcohol sugar).
So... What does this mean? Well, if you haven't already read our blog on "does sugar cause cavities?" then this is a good time to take a look at that. If you forgot or simply don't want to re-read it then let us remind you that sugar (or any fermentable carbohydrate) is involved in the tooth decay process because bacteria in our mouth feed on these sugars and produce an acid. This acid causes the tooth to lose its minerals in a process known as demineralization that will eventually lead to the formation of a cavity on a the tooth. Because Xylitol can not be utilized by cavity-causing bacteria, this means that our teeth are safe from any potential "acids attacks" and thus helps prevent cavities.
The lower (about 40%) calorie content of xylitol compare to table sugar, can also help diabetics control their blood sugar. There is a direct link between uncontrol diabetes and gum disease that we will discuss in detail on a future blog, but for now you should know that by helping control blood sugar, diabetics are less likely to suffer from gum disease as a result of using Xylitol instead of table sugar.
It is important to know that although Xylitol can help reduce cavities. Brushing and flossing is always the best way to fight and prevent tooth decay! consider using an electric toothbrush and good floss to always be on top of your game! :)
Thank you for reading this blog post. We hope this helped you understand what Xylitol is and what its benefits are from a dental point of view. If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below. If you enjoyed and found it educational please share it with your friends and family and follow us on Instagram. It only takes 1 minute of your time and it helps us out a lot. Thanks!