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.