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Xylitol: The Sweetener You and Your Dentist Will Love

Xylitol: The Sweetener You and Your Dentist Will Love

Xylitol: The Sweetener You and Your Dentist Will Love

Consider this a major score for your sweet tooth: dentists are taking back that hard and fast rule that gum and candy rot your teeth! A sweetener called Xylitol makes it possible to enjoy such treats guilt-free, while actually fighting cavities along the way.

For those who have long kept the candy aisle off limits or those who cave to their cravings despite the risk of tooth decay, products with this game-changing ingredient may offer the perfect solution.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener similar to sugar in both taste and appearance. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, but is most commonly derived from fibrous plant-based matter, such as corncobs or birch wood. It has received the World Health Organization's safety rating when added to your diet in a moderate amount (15 grams or less), and only has a third of the amount of calories as sugar.

Dental Benefits of Xylitol

Xylitol's appeal is not only due to its favorable calorie count, but also to it being a naturally occurring substance that cavity causing oral bacteria are unable to ferment or metabolize. Other dental benefits of products containing Xylitol include:

  • Increased saliva production, which helps keep dry mouth at bay
  • Reduced plaque buildup, due to lower bacteria and acidity levels
  • Less enamel erosion, as stimulated saliva helps restore lost calcium and phosphates

Xylitol vs. Sorbitol

Consumers familiar with other sugar-free alternatives may wonder how Xylitol stacks up against Sorbitol, a similar, less expensive substitute that has been on the market for a longer period of time. Although both compounds are technically classified as sugar alcohols, the primary difference is that cavity-causing bacteria can ferment Sorbitol. This means that, while it's still friendlier to your teeth compared to sugar, it is not as effective as Xylitol at inhibiting oral bacteria growth.

Products That Contain Xylitol

The popularity and overall versatility of Xylitol have made it a favorite not only for food companies, but for dental care companies as well. Chewing gum is but one of many products sweetened with Xylitol. Other products include:

  • Lollipops
  • Mints
  • Toothpastes/gels
  • Caramels
  • Sugar Candies
  • Mouthwash
  • Dark Chocolate
  • "Table Sugar" Replacements
  • Floss
  • With so many Xylitol products on the market, incorporating this ingredient into your diet and/or hygiene is practically effortless.

    Limitations of Xylitol

    As beneficial as Xylitol may be, it's important to know there are limits. From a nutritional perspective, excess intake may actually result in side effects such as stomach discomfort and/or diarrhea. From a dental perspective, Xylitol is but one aspect of preventative care, and should not be perceived as a magic bullet.

    Frequent brushing, flossing and dentist visits still play the same critical role in preserving your oral health. Consult with your dentist for an optimal approach to incorporating Xylitol into your everyday diet and routine.

    Patient Reviews

    • Dr. Rehder and the entire staff are friendly and compassionate. They accommodate my needs as a patient and treat me as a personal friend. Professionally, they provide the utmost care and advice, the patient always comes first. I can’t say enough positive comments about this practice.

      ~Review by Eileen S.

    • Dr. Rehder is very professional, yet not too serious as he is doing your teeth. He makes it relaxing and is able to keep your mind away from his work (I have never liked going to the dentist, but Dr. Rehder makes the experience as close to pleasant as a dentist visit can be).

      ~Review by Mary Ellen M.

    • Thank you Dr. Rehder and Christine for the "always exciting" and "never a dull moment" orthodontist appointment. See you in two weeks to do it all over again. Ok maybe-not ALL over again.

      ~Review by Elena C.

    • I had a great experience with Dr. Rehder. He is very informative and professional. All of the staff were so nice and helpful. My overall experience was one of the best I had with a dental office. I would definitely recommend people to come here.

      ~Review by Paulina C.

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      ~Review by Diane S.

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      ~Review by Amanda C.

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      ~Review by Patricia L.

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      ~Review by Charles G.

    • Excellent.

      ~Review by Dom J.

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