Xylitol – Does It Affect Your Oral Health At All?

Excerpt: Xylitol is a what’s known as a sugar alcohol or polyol, it is naturally...
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Xylitol

Xylitol (pronounced: zai-luh-taal) is a naturally occurring sugar-free, no calorie sweetener that has numerous beneficial qualities for oral health.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is what’s known as sugar alcohol or polyol, it is naturally occurring in nature and can be found in some fruits and vegetables including, cauliflower, mushrooms, oats, plums, raspberries, and strawberries.

Commercial Use Of Xylitol

For commercial production, xylitol is processed from fibrous plant materials like sugar cane bagasse and hardwoods. It is widely used as a sugar substitute, food additive, and low-calorie sweetener. 

 

Xylitol is a low-calorie sweetener and does not actually contain sugar or affect the blood sugar levels of people who consume it.

Xylitol Is not An Artificial Sweetener!

Some people might be under the impression that xylitol is not organic but manufactured like Aspartame and Sucralose. Xylitol is harvested naturally and there is no need to artificially make it.
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Is Xylitol A Healthy Alternative To Sugar?

Yes, it is, there are even health benefits to xylitol beyond its dental health!

 

  • It is a low-calorie substitute for both white and brown sugar.
  • It doesn’t cause your blood sugar to rise significantly.
  • It offers the same level of sweetness as sugar.

Are There Calories In Xylitol?

There are calories in xylitol, however, there are only 9 calories per teaspoon which is very low compared to the 16 calories per teaspoon in sugar! Switching to xylitol may make it easier to:
 
  • Lose excess weight
  • Maintain normal body weight
  • Decrease their calorie consumption
  • Reduce their sugar intake 

6 Oral Health Benefits Of Dental Health

Helps To Prevent Plaque Buildup

Xylitol, unlike sugar, cannot be metabolized by the naturally occurring acid-forming bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria instead will convert xylitol into xylitol 5-phosphate (X5P), this chemical actually inhibits the production of acid from the bacteria, which will save your teeth from erosion. Since the environment will also be less acidic, the bacteria will not be able to survive as well since they need an acidic environment to survive.

Can Help To Remove Plaque

Xylitol can help reduce plaque (not tartar), this is because it reduces the bulk and stickiness of plaque. It can also help significantly reduce polysaccharides which play a role in the survival of bacteria. This is a two-fold effect, essentially it is making it harder for the bacteria to survive and making it harder for them to cause damage.

Actively Stops Decay

Almost all food products have some carbohydrates in them, which means that anything you eat will feed the bacteria and cause them to reproduce. You can slow this process down by eating less sugar, but it won’t stop them. Xylitol actively blocks and prevents bacteria through the habitual use of the substance. 

Excellent For Children’s Health

Xylitol has been shown to protect children against tooth decay if they chew xylitol gum at least one year before their permanent teeth erupt. 

Promotes Remineralization

Xylitol also helps with the remineralization of your tooth enamel, this is important as teeth may get weaker over time, remineralization helps keep them strong and healthy. 

What Dental Products Contain Xylitol?

There are plenty of products that contain xylitol in them, if you are wondering if the product contains xylitol, you can find it on the ingredient label of the product:
 

Do Food Products Contain Xylitol?

Yes, it is a naturally-occurring product, it is also added to products in order to sweeten them and add flavor:
 
  • Sweeteners
  • Sugar-free candies
  • Chewable vitamins and dietary supplements
  • Over-the-counter medications (e.g., cough syrups)
  • Diabetic foods (e.g., sugar-free desserts)
  • Peanut butter
  • Drink powders
  • Candy
  • Pudding
  • Ketchup
  • Barbecue sauces 
  • Pancake syrups

5 General Health Benefits Of Xylitol

Promotes Hydration

Many skin care products contain xylitol due to its evidence-backed ability to promote hydration and reduce moisture loss, and it can even improve the thickness of your skin to help fortify it against trauma.

Helps To Keep You Regular

Xylitol helps to promote healthy gut flora which plays a critical role in your overall health. There have been studies that show xylitol relieves constipation and encourages bowel movement.

Strengthen Bones

Xylitol is not digested by the intestines, it produces short-chain fatty acids which improve the digestion and absorption of minerals such as calcium.

Supports Respiratory Health

Xylitol also helps to deter bacteria growing elsewhere as well. Nasal sprays contain xylitol as it can prevent bacterial infection since it greatly limits the bacteria’s ability to thrive.

Reduces/Prevents Ear Infections

Xylitol has also been shown to reduce ear infections in children by as much as 25%. This result was achieved just through the general consumption of xylitol, even if it’s just through gum or lozenges.
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