Xylitol

 

Xylitol is a sugary alcohol which stimulates the state of sweetness on the tongue. It is a natural sweetener as it is found in fruit and vegetables and is even produced in the body during metabolism. Xylitol can be found in sugar free foods as it tastes similar to sugar but has 40% less calories. Here at Smile Hub Dental Clinic in Bayside Medical Centre, we would recommend food and oral care products with xylitol has it can have a positive affect on your oral health and overall health.

 

Here at Smile Hub Dental Clinic, we may offer xylitol to our patients who we see getting cavities often as an affordable and easy option to add into their oral hygiene routine. Patients who are older, have dry mouth, have acid reflux, drink a lot of acidic drinks or are undergoing cancer treatment are prone to having an acidic pH in their mouth due to changes in the oral cavity. When the pH in the mouth is low essential minerals in the enamel of the tooth are taken out. The enamel is the outer layer of the tooth which is hard and protects the inner layer called dentine. If the mouth is acidic, it can attack the enamel causing holes called cavities or wear on the enamel. This will expose the dentine in the tooth leading to pain as the little pours in the dentine go through to the nerve. Once the dentine is exposed treatment may include deep fillings, root canal treatment or even an extraction if the decay has broken down a lot of the tooth. Research shows that exposing the mouth to 100% xylitol products can neutralize acidity and normalise the pH levels in the mouth.

 

Patients who have difficulty producing saliva due to medication, medical treatment etc., have a higher chance of getting tooth decay as minerals and calcium are not put into the enamel by the saliva. Xylitol is a good way to help these patients produce saliva as it stimulates the salivary glands which will prevent other problems caused by dry mouth and will allow calcium to get to the teeth to protect the enamel.

 

There are patients who do not like fluoride and would rather not use it. People who refuse to use fluoride products are at a high risk of tooth decay. Xylitol is a natural alcohol which can be used as a substitute for people who don’t want to use fluoride. Xylitol can compliment fluoride which makes the application of fluoride more effective. The bacteria in plaque does not recognise it as a food so it does not stick to it and will slide off the tooth which will stop cavities in people who have inadequate brushing techniques.

 

Xylitol is a natural sweetener in fruit and vegetables, but because people do not eat enough of them, they may not get receive the benefits for their dental health. It is important not to have too much xylitol as it can have side affects on the gastric system. Moderation is key as it is with most things.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is xylitol good for oral health?

Xylitol is very good for oral health as it reduces tooth decay. Acid in our food and saliva is what attacks our enamel and causes tooth decay. Xylitol is known to neutralise acidity and lower the pH in the mouth which will prevent cavities or wear on the tooths enamel. It is also great for patients who have dry mouth as it stimulates the salivary glands helping the production of saliva which can prevent other dental problems linked with dry mouth.

Does xylitol kill bacteria in the mouth?

Unlike normal sugars in the mouth, bacteria can’t use xylitol to grow or reproduce. It cannot detect xylitol as a food which means it will not stick to the tooth and cause deterioration of the enamel. The bacteria will die because they cannot live off xylitol. It is recommended to have an intake of foods or oral products with xylitol to help kill any harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Is xylitol sweetener bad?

Xylitol is safe but moderation is key. When xylitol is taken in amounts found in food it is completely safe as it is a natural product. It has been approved as a sweetener and additive in many products. The only side affect may be diarrhoea if a large amount of xylitol is consumed.

Is xylitol better than sugar?

Xylitol is a lot better than sugar for oral and general health. It is 5% less sweet than sugar, but sugar has 40% more calories than xylitol. It is great as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes. It also has a drastic difference in the level of tooth decay that can occur. Xylitol actually prevents tooth decay unlike sugar which causes it.

What are the benefits of xylitol?

Xylitol has many benefits to our bodies. It can be used as relief for constipation and is known to improve the mineral density of our bones. It can also modulate the immune system reducing the chance of sinus infections and respiratory tract infections. It prevents tooth decay in the mouth by neutralising acid which is distributed around the mouth by saliva.

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