Dental Tips Blog

Mar
27

Fight Tooth Decay . . . With Sweets?

Lollipops, caramels, chocolate – oh my! The list of snacks that promote tooth decay goes on and on. It’s not just limited to sweets, either. Foods containing simple carbohydrates like crackers and bagels and juice are also culprits.

The fact that there’s actually a kind of sugar out there that’s proven to help prevent cavities sounds ironic.

Xylitol is a specific type of sugar alcohol. It’s commonly derived from plant sources such as corn and used as a sugar alternative.

Xylitol benefits over regular sugar:

  • 40% fewer calories
  • Just as sweet as sugar while preventing cavities
  • It’s lower on the glycemic index

But what makes xylitol different?

First of all, it’s a carbohydrate that cavity-causing bacteria can’t digest. Those germs live off of the sugar you eat. So when that sugar is replaced by a kind they can’t break down, they starve to death.

Secondly, xylitol helps to deconstruct the “slime layer” that those bacteria live in. Without their sticky texture, they can’t adhere to teeth and cause cavities.

This sugar substitute can often be found on the shelves of health food stores, as well as specific types of gum.

But be careful – xylitol isn’t recommended in large amounts. Just as bacteria have a hard time digesting this substance, so do humans. Too much xylitol probably isn’t toxic, but it does act as a sort of laxative.

The best way to get the dental benefits of xylitol is to chew gum made with it. People with dry mouth especially like to munch on sweet things to encourage saliva flow. Xylitol sweets are the way to go!

In conjunction with daily brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings and checkups, xylitol can help prevent tooth decay.  Find out more ways to lower your cavity risk by scheduling a visit with your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

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