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Xylitol: Cavities & Gum Disease in Children and Adults

Now here is something to smile about! Clinical studies show that supplementing a healthy diet with regular consumption of Xylitol (i.e. xylitol chewing gum 2 times a day) is beneficial for teeth. In fact, daily use of xylitol by chewing gum containing at least one gram of xylitol, sprinkling a few grams of xylitol on top of cereal or chewing the granules in the mouth, for instance, prevents bacteria from creating the acids that damage teeth. Xylitol’s non-cariogenic five-carbon structure keeps it from being metabolized by bacteria, stopping the production of tooth-decay causing acid. Regular use of Xylitol gum prevents plaque from gaining hold on dental surfaces. Hence, it protects the mouth between brushing and flossing for both adults and children.

Xylitol’s uses are recommended for children with teeth and older. When teeth begin forming, bacteria that cause cavities begin colonizing in the mouth. Using Xylitol can actually prevent colonization of those cavity-causing bacteria in an infant and prevent future dental cavities for the child. In fact, by sucking on Xylitol candy or Xylitol gum, rather than other sugar-filled products, children as well as adults reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Xylitol and Diabetes:

Control of blood glucose, lipids and weight are the three major goals of diabetes management today. Xylitol is a low glycemic sweetener, is slowly absorbed and is metabolized independently of insulin. Xylitol does not cause the sharp increase in blood sugar level or the associated serum insulin response, which is usually seen following consumption of other carbohydrates. Thus, Xylitol can be recommended as a sugar-free sweetener suitable for diabetics as well as for the general population seeking a healthier lifestyle. The reduced caloric value (2.4 calories per gram versus 4.0 for sugar) of Xylitol is consistent with the objective of weight control.

Despite the improvement in dental health achieved through the use of better educational preventative measures and the use of xylitol by dentists, cavities incidence is still widespread and cause for concern in many countries. Decreasing sugar intake and finding practical means of combating its detrimental effects remains a priority in controlling the incidence of cavities. One way to achieve this goal is to provide confectionery sweetened with dentally safe sugar substitutes.

According to The American Dentist Association, Xylitol is recommended for the use of preventing cavities as well as:

Helping to reduce the development of cavities (dental caries).

Resist fermentation by mouth bacteria.

Reduce plaque formation.

Increase salivary flow to aid in the repair of damaged tooth enamel.

Provide One-Third Fewer Calories than Sugar – about 2.4 Calories per Gram May Be Useful as an Alternative to Sugar for People with Diabetes on the Advice of their Health Care Providers.

Xylitol Daily Dosage Amount

The recommended dose for dental cavity prevention is 6-10 grams per day. For those with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and have difficulty chewing, Xylitol candy should be used instead of chewing gum.

*Please note that at high dosages, Xylitol can cause diarrhea in children at 45 grams per day and 100 grams per day in adults.

resources: xylitol.org, xlear.com

 

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