How strong are your teeth? Are you struggling with cavities or gum disease even though you feel like you are doing all of the right things? How about sensitivity? Well...have you tried xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural, non-nutritive sweetener that comes from corncobs and birch trees. You can find rows of sugarless gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even sweet treats like ice cream and chocolate that contain xylitol as a sweetener or active ingredient. Xylitol is naturally sweeter than sugar, yet it doesn't contain many digestible calories.
So what makes it so special? Xylitol can help protect your teeth from cavities and gum disease! It works by naturally preventing the bacteria in your mouth from breaking down sugars left from other foods. If the bacteria aren't able to breakdown sugar, they aren't able to produce the acid that causes tooth decay and gum disease. Harmful bacteria produce acid and thrive in the acidic environment. Xylitol also helps neutralize the pH in your mouth. A neutral pH helps protect teeth and gums by making it harder for the destructive little sugar bugs to thrive.
To reap the dental benefits that xylitol has to offer, there are a few rules to follow!
- Choose a gum that lists xylitol as one of the first ingredients. If other sweeteners are listed before it, there probably isn't enough of the good stuff to make a difference. Chew for at least 20 minutes after a meal.
- Brush with a toothpaste that has xylitol. For maximum benefit, you can brush for 2 minutes then spit the toothpaste out, but don't rinse your mouth out with water.
- If you choose to add a xylitol-based mouthwash, make sure it is the last thing that you use before you go to bed at night. You want to give it time to sit on your teeth.
- Next time you have a sweet tooth, choose a treat that is sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar! Less sugar is always a good thing! (Some people experience an upset stomach if they swallow/consume too much xylitol. Make sure to try one thing at a time).
Next time you are shopping for oral care products, give xylitol a try! Orbit and Spry products are good go-tos! Your teeth and gums will thank you!