Xylitol and Your Dental Health

January 6, 2012

With so many alternative sweeteners, like Sweet’N Low, Truvia, and Splenda, it’s hard to know which one is actually the best for you. As an advocate of total health and holistic dentistry, Michigan dentist Dr. Brad Greenfield has some information about a natural sweetener that’s been around for years and has big dental and health benefits: xylitol.

What is xylitol?

Used as a sweetener in foods since the 1960s, xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is found in fibrous fruits and vegetables. Xylitol also naturally occurs in the human body, with an average, healthy adult producing up to 15 grams per day.

Although pure xylitol looks and tastes just like sugar, it’s slowly absorbed and only partially used by the body, giving it a reduced calorie count of 2.4 calories per gram or 40 percent less than other carbohydrates. Because of this, it’s recommended that you strive to consume five servings of xylitol each day. Sources of xylitol include special xylitol toothpaste, mouthwash, nasal spray, mints, and gum.

Dental Benefits of Xylitol

Even though it’s used as sugar substitute, the use of xylitol significantly contributes to the health of your teeth and gums. Some of the dental benefits of xylitol include:

  • Fighting tooth decay by neutralizing the pH level in your mouth and preventing bacteria from sticking to the teeth
  • Preventing bacteria growth up to 90 percent
  • Repairing damaged enamel by promoting saliva production

Other health benefits of xylitol include:

  • Clearing the nasal passages
  • Preventing ear infections
  • Conserving calories in food
  • Lessening the chance of developing diabetes, hypoglycemia, and weight gain

By simply adding a few doses of xylitol to your routine each day, you’ll quickly promote the health of your teeth and gums. For more tips for a healthy smile, visit Lake Orion Family Dentistry online at lkorionfamdent.com or call our Lake Orion dentist office at (248) 693-6213.

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