Xylitol is a natural sweetener and thus does not fall into the same category as saccharine, the active ingredient in Sweet’n Low, or aspartame, the active ingredient in Equal and NutraSweet. Saccharine and aspartame are artificial sweeteners that are made in a laboratory. They are synthetic chemicals that have been linked to many life-threatening illnesses.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that comes from the earth, from nature. It can be extracted from fruit, berries, vegetables, birch wood, corn, straw, seed hulls, and nutshells. The amount of Xylitol in these natural products is so minute that it would be difficult or impossible to consume enough to get enough xylitol to benefit our teeth and gums. Special Xylitol products can provide a mouth with enough xylitol to promote dental health.
Of course, sucrose is a natural sweetener as well. Our two main sources of sucrose are sugar cane and beets. But xylitol is a much better natural sweetener because it promotes dental health.
Xylitol supports remineralization of the teeth. Where cavities have already started, xylitol restores tooth enamel. Another benefit of Xylitol is that it does not promote tooth decay like sugar does.
Xylitol dissolves quicker than sucrose, which is one reason why it does not create plaque. Xylitol is more effective at preventing cavities than sorbitol and mannitol, two synthetic sweeteners.
Xylitol has been used for more than 25 years in Finland, Hungary, and other countries to prevent dental cavities! Various studies over this time period have proven that sugar alcohols including xylitol reduce the amount of cavities in children and adults. The best news is that Xylitol is more effective than any other sugar alcohol at preventing cavities.
In Finland 10 to 11 year old children were studied, all of whom brushed and flossed, were instructed in their diet, had many check-ups, and used fluorides. Many people who were aware of the program speculated that there was not much that could increase the effectiveness of the study because the program was so intensive. Everyone was shocked when it was found that the children who chewed xylitol gum every day increased protection against cavities by 50%! Interestingly, the permanent teeth were those most protected by Xylitol.
Study in Belize- 1,277 school age children chewed gum several times a day. The children were divided into three categories- children chewing gum sweetened by sucrose, children chewing xylitol sweetened gum, and children chewing sorbitol sweetened gum. Remember, xylitol and sorbitol sweeteners are both sugar alcohols.
The study lasted for 40 months with children chewing gum everyday, including weekends and holidays. The children who chewed xylitol gum had 73% fewer cavities! Children who chewed gum sweetened by sorbitol had a reduction in cavities, but by only 26%. Children chewing sucrose sweetened gum had an increase of cavities of 120%.
In Estonia a study evaluated the use of xylitol gum and candy in 10 year old school children. After 3 years of chewing xylitol gum there was a 53.5% reduction in cavities when compared to the control group who chewed no gum. Sucking on xylitol candy led to a 33% to 59% reduction in cavities.
Chewing xylitol gum is more helpful to dental health than not chewing it!
In Costa Rica a study compared use of xylitol-sweetened toothpaste with a control toothpaste, both of which contained fluoride. After 3 years of brushing twice a day, the xylitol group had 10.5%-12.3% less cavities.
It is not impossible to stop cavities.
Many people believe that when a cavity forms the only thing that will stop it is a dentist’s drill. This is not true! Xylitol can stop cavities from worsening and can eventually heal cavities by creating an environment where the tooth actually restores its enamel coating.
Xylitol Quick Facts: The Many Benefits
• All Natural: Is extracted from natural products. NOT created in a lab.
• Tastes sweet
• No aftertaste
• Dissolves much quicker than sucrose
• Is a sugar alcohol and is safe for diabetics
• Xylitol promotes remineralization: Can actually allow your tooth to heal its self. Xylitol restores tooth enamel where cavities have already started.
• Contains only 40% of the calories of sucrose sugar
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