Xylitol and Its Unique Benefits in Preventing Cavity
Less Bacteria, Healthier Teeth
While eating nutritious foods, drinking plenty of water, and brushing with fluoride toothpaste are all popular solutions for healthier teeth, Xylitol offers another excellent way to prevent cavities.
How Cavities are Formed and How Xylitol Can Help
Sugar cause bacteria (Strep. Mutans) to multiply and produce acid, lowering the pH levels in your mouth. This process creates a more acidic environment in your mouth and increases the risk of cavities.
When xylitol is used, bacteria cannot metabolize, and the acidity levels in the mouth fall, thus preventing cavities. Raising the pH in the mouth allows for an overall increase in dental health. The acid attack can be stopped and xylitol works to protect your teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay.
Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol derived from the fibrous portion of plants. It is used as a sweetener in many everyday items, such as chewing gum, breath mints, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even in food. It has been found to have numerous dental benefits, especially when it comes to decay. Some studies have shown that consistent use of chewing gum containing xylitol reduced the risk of caries by 59%. Whether it’s in chewing gum or mouthwash, xylitol offers a strong defense against cavities when combined with regular oral care.
Overall Health is Connected to Oral Health
The mouth is the gateway to the body. If teeth and gums are not properly cared for, the rest of the body is at risk.
For example: there is a strong connection between heart disease and oral health.
According to one major finding, the infection from decayed teeth and periodontal inflammation is directly linked to heart disease.
In addition, oral infections can lead to chronic inflammation, which has been linked to many health issues, including stroke, diabetes, migraines, and even oral cancer. When xylitol is used in regular oral health, as discussed previously, bacteria are prevented from multiplying and flourishing in the mouth, and as such, lowers the risk of these other harmful diseases. Therefore, good oral health can lead to improved general wellness.
Medical Benefits of Xylitol
Xylitol is also proven to reduce the Streptococcal bacterial activity and adhesion in the nasal cavity and reduce the severity of nose and ear infections. There are sprays with xylitol that are on the market. Xylitol has a low glycemic index and is known to be a great sugar alternative for diabetic patients.
Protecting the Good Bacteria
Just as xylitol prevents harmful bacteria from multiplying and destroying enamel, it encourages the activity of good bacteria in the body. In general, a blanket killing of all bacteria can be harmful—some bacteria are needed to keep the body healthy. In the mouth, good bacteria help start the digestive process and promote good oral health. Since we have discussed that xylitol fights bad bacteria in your mouth and keeps good bacteria remain in the mouth; that process supports the natural defenses of the mouth.
Cavities are an All-Day Problem
A normal oral routine typically includes brushing and flossing in the morning and evening. Because most diets are rich in sugars and carbohydrates, the fourteen or so hours in between brushing and flossing leave a long time for bacteria to increase and begin eating away at the teeth. Cavities can therefore form even if teeth are seemingly being cared for.
Taking time during the day to care for your mouth is the best way to fight against the bacterial growth that happens in between brushing. You don’t need to bring a toothbrush and floss to the office—there are other ways to keep your teeth free of bacteria.
Xylitol gums, minted candies, or just plain candies are enough to help prevent the increase of bad bacteria in your mouth and eventually will prevent cavities.
Studies show that three exposures of xylitol are needed each day for a good clinical effect, and the best results will be seen when the exposure count is increased to five. With proper dental care, xylitol is really proven to effectively help prevent dental gum disease and cavities.
Cavity Prevention is Lifelong Commitment
At the end of the day, cavity prevention depends on how often you consume carbohydrates and how often you brush and floss. The higher your sugar and carbohydrate intake, especially between meals, the higher your risk. Good oral hygiene, being conscientious of sugar consumption, and using xylitol-containing products will help ensure a healthy, cavity-free mouth.
If you have any questions about cavities or would like to schedule an appointment at Madison Avenue Dentists' office, call us today. Meet with the whole dental expert team and our Prosthodontists Dr. Stella Oh and Dr. Ash Estafan will guide you to healthy teeth for life.