Xylitol is a naturally occurring, sugar type compound. It is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, and can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, as well as fibrous material such as corn husks and birch. Xylitol is roughly as sweet as sucrose (table sugar) with only two-thirds the food energy.
Xylitol is specific in its inhibition of bacteria that are significant contributors to tooth decay and can:
- help to prevent dental caries
- help to prevent plaque formation
- reduce colonization of oral cavity by caries-causing bacteria
- help to promote healthy glucose metabolism when used in place of glucose or sucrose as part of a low sugar diet
- help to reduce the incidence of inner ear infections in children
Xylitol-based products are allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the medical claim that they do not promote dental cavities.
Guidelines to use:
Research shows that 6-7 grams of xylitol per day provides protection against tooth decay. Recommendations are for a piece of gum or mint or two after snacks or meals. Daily doses of xylitol below 3.44 grams are not enough to prevent dental caries (it will however not promote cavities), and doses above 10.32 grams show no additional benefit. Xylitol in high dosages may cause diarrhea. Use caution if you have hypertension.
Use xylitol at least three, and preferably five times every day. Use immediately after eating and clearing the mouth by swishing water, if possible. Between meals, replace ordinary chewing gum, breath mints, or breath spray with comparable xylitol products.
- X-pur gum: 1 piece contains 1 gram of xylitol
- Xyla mints and candies: 1 piece contains 410 mg (ideal dose: 14-20 pieces daily for Adults and Children over 3)
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