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What Is Xylitol & How Can It Help Cavities?

It’s common knowledge that sugar is not good for your teeth. The bacteria in our mouths feed on sugar left on our teeth, causing plaque to build up. This plaque will create cavities and cause tooth decay, leading to all sorts of painful and expensive dental problems. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know quite how to avoid coming in contact with too much sugar and how to help our children avoid it as well.

Luckily, a natural sugar substitute called xylitol is not only a natural sweetener, but is actually good for your teeth as well! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has even acknowledged xylitol, which is naturally derived from plants, as a good way to prevent cavities altogether. Xylitol is antimicrobial, meaning it will reduce plaque and lower the levels of acid that attacks the sensitive enamel on the outer layer of your teeth.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol, found in many fruits and veggies, is a natural sugar alcohol. It can be extracted from oats, mushrooms, berries and even birch. When compared to other artificial sweeteners, xylitol has virtually no side effects at all. Lastly, it has an incredibly low caloric value when compared to other artificial sweeteners and even natural sugars.

Where is Xylitol Found?

You can find xylitol in toothpastes, mouthwashes, mints, and even certain chewing gums. The best way to get xylitol is through chewing gum, as this will also increase your saliva production, which will wash away even more of the harmful acids. In fact, the American Dental Association has even found that 15-20 minutes of chewing xylitol chewing gum can help prevent cavities and tooth decay!

Of course, xylitol should never be used as a replacement for flossing, brushing, and visiting our office for regular cleanings and exams. To make an appointment for a dental cleaning and exam, please contact Great Outdoors Pediatric Dentistry, located in Dover, NH!

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