Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants with a sweet taste identical to sugar and no aftertaste. Xylitol has a low glycemic index of 7 (compared to sugar’s 83) and is low in calories. So, in addition to being delicious, xylitol has much to offer the health-conscious consumer. Used extensively in Scandinavia since the 1940’s, xylitol has been the subject of more than 1500 clinical and laboratory studies that have clearly revealed xylitol’s health-promoting benefits. Dental associations around the world are touting xylitol’s praises because it promotes better oral health and reduces the risk of tooth decay. Other studies have shown that when certain bacteria are exposed to xylitol, they lose their ability to stick to the tissues in the mouth, nose and upper respiratory tract. Futhermore, xylitol has a cooling and soothing effect, making it an ideal choice for both taste and good health.
In combination with fluoride, xylitol proves to be a winning combination. For years we have known and heard of fluorides ability to make teeth stronger and more resistant to the bacteria that cause decay. When you add xylitol to the mix, it actually kills the bacteria that cause decay. The bacteria ingest the xylitol but they cannot metabolize it, so they eventually die. When preventing or treating decay these days, we always look at combining fluoride and xylitol now. Along with meticulous home care (brushing and flossing) and eating a healthy diet, adding xylitol in some form is very beneficial.
You can get xylitol in many products. It is available in gums, mints, floss, rinses, toothpaste and even a crystalline form that you can add to foods in place of sugar. It is safe and gentle for all ages. Make sure xylitol is the first ingredient when looking into purchasing a product to get it’s full benefit. You need at least five contacts with xylitol for maximum effectiveness, whether it’s toothpaste in the morning and night and a few pieces of gum throughout the day or any combination with xylitol products. Even though xylitol is safe for people to use, it is toxic to dogs. They cannot metabolize it so make sure they do not get a hold of any xylitol products.
At our office, we provide numerous xylitol products for patients to use including even a sinus and nasal spray to help hydrate and moisturize for upper respiratory health. Please visit or contact our office and ask us about xylitol and what would be best for you and your family!