Dental Tips Blog


Strive for 5 – Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Teeth

Posted in Fillings

There’s a new phrase floating around the dental office and among dental professionals. Have you heard it? “Strive for 5!” That is, strive for at least 5 exposures each day to the tooth-friendly sweetener Xylitol.

So what is xylitol? Technically speaking, it’s a 5-carbon sugar that actually keeps plaque from being able to cling to other plaque particles and adhere to the teeth. What that means is, when there’s xylitol in the mouth, plaque is broken up and comes off of the teeth, protecting them from acid erosion and tooth decay. No other sugar or sugar-substitute can do that!

The reason dentists suggest 5 exposures to xylitol each day is based on a clinical study that found chewing gum with xylitol in it that often each day was (get this) just as effective at reducing plaque levels as toothbrushing was. Less plaque equals fewer cavites and fewer fillings.  Now, we don’t recommend giving up your toothbrush just yet, but adding gum with xylitol into your daily routine can dramatically affect your oral health. It’s appropriate for patients of all ages, including children. Having kids chew xylitol gum that are prone to decay can be a great addition to improving their oral hygiene routine.

Dentists recommend chewing the gum after each meal when patients aren’t able to brush their teeth, and during the day after snacks. Xylitol can also be found in other forms and used for a variety of health purposes. It’s often available in drops or even toothpastes at some health food stores. One word to the wise…if you purchase it as a sweetener for your foods, consuming too much can cause stomach irritation. If you’re spitting out your gum, that shouldn’t be a problem!

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental


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