By: Denise Rysz, RDH
What is xylitol and why do we recommend it?
What are the benefits to the oral cavity and to allergy sufferers?
Xylitol Helps Fight Tooth Decay
Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol from fruit and vegetable fibers that is often used in today’s world as a sweetener for manufactured products, such as medicines, vitamins, toothpaste, and chewing gum. A wonderful trait of xylitol is that it has a sweet taste, and yet has negligible effects on blood sugar or insulin levels. The oral health benefit of xylitol is that it stimulates a healthy supply of saliva that, in turn, neutralizes the PH of the oral cavity within a few minutes of consumption - this acts as a buffer against the harmful acidic environment created by the bacteria in dental plaque.
Xylitol Helps Fight Seasonal Allergies
Xylitol is beneficial for common allergies because it prevents allergens from adhering to nose hairs. You can find nasal sprays and saline neti pot solutions that contain xylitol. Xlear is a popular brand that carries both a nasal spray as well as a neti pot solution. www.xlear.com or amazon.com
Ok, So How Do I Consume Xylitol?
In order for xylitol to best prevent tooth decay, it is recommended that the oral cavity is exposed to it 5 times a day for 5 minutes a session, after every meal and snack. Remembering to pop-in a piece of xylitol-containing chewing gum or mint, after every time you eat, is a great way to keep your teeth their healthiest!
What Are The Best Over-the-Counter Xylitol Products?
Ice Breakers Sugar-free Gum and Mints - Ice Cubes / Frost
Orbit Sugar-free Chewing Gum
Trident Sugar-free Chewing Gum
Breath Savers Protect Sugar-free Mints
Mentos - Pure Chewing Gum and Mints
Spry Gum, Mints, and Toothpaste - can be found at health food stores, like 14 Carrot in Lexington or on amazon.com
Do be mindful to keep xylitol away from pets. Dogs should not ingest it, as it can be life-threatening. Contact the vet immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested xylitol.