Is Xylitol Good for You?

There’s been a lot of hype lately about xylitol, but do you know what this substance is? It’s a sweetener found in beets, birch tree bark, corn cobs, mushrooms, raspberries and a few other natural sources. This sugar alcohol is equal to the sweetness of sugar but contains 40% fewer calories. This sugar-free alternative also prevents cavities.
How Does Xylitol Prevents Cavities?
Xylitol has been shown to prevent Streptococcus mutans which is the bacteria associated with dental cavities. Because xylitol is not able to be metabolized by this bacteria, the decay process slows down. Using xylitol has shown a dramatic improvement in patient’s dental plaque as well. 
Decay in the mouth begins with plaque which then turns into tartar formation, stains and eventually cavities.
How Should I Use Xylitol?
Because xylitol is a safe, natural product; you can incorporate it daily into your dental care routine. Chew xylitol gum or suck on mints up to five times each day. If you are choosing gum, chew for at least five minutes at a time. If you would prefer to eat mints, make sure they dissolve completely in your mouth. The best time to use products with xylitol is directly after a meal or snack. This reduces the bacteria that leads to plaque and reduces the time sugar sits on the teeth.
In addition to gums and mints, other formulations are also hitting the market now as well. You’ll find mouthwash, toothpaste and other oral care products available to you.
How Do I Know Xylitol is Safe?
Unlike many natural products that never get deemed safe by reputable sources, xylitol is something you can feel comfortable using. A growing number of reputable agencies has confirmed the safety including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives.
It is important to note that xylitol is harmful to dogs so you would need to keep all products out of their reach. If you have more questions or concerns about using xylitol, it would be important to speak with your dentist in Elmwood, IL at your next checkup. New England Dental Group of Elmwood Park can be reached at (773) 237-1608. 
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