Chewing Gum Can Reduce Tooth Decay | Delmarva Dental Services

Chewing Gum Can Reduce Tooth Decay

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The Xylitol Story Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in berries, plums, cauliflower, rice oats, wheat, mushrooms and birch trees. It was developed as a food additive in Finland during the sugar (sucrose) shortage in World War II. Xylitol has been used since that time in Russia, China, Japan, Germany and Italy. The FDA has approved it for use since 1963.Xylitol tastes and looks like sugar but has 45 % less calories and 75% less carbohydrates. Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar rather than the normal six carbons found in most natural sugars. This critical difference results in our body metabolizing and using Xylitol differently.Xylitol is absorbed more slowly by the body than sucrose. This stabilizes insulin levels, which is beneficial for diabetics and also eliminates the tiredness that results one hour after we eat a high sugar snack. Some studies have shown that Xylitol also increases calcium absorption and therefore may increase bone density and lessen osteoporosis. Bacteria and other organisms in the human body have evolved utilizing six carbon sugars, which we regularly ingest. When we eat a five-carbon sugar like Xylitol, the organisms that cause cavities, ear and fungal infections cannot utilize it. Therefore, harmful bacteria fail to thrive, losing their ability to stick to our teeth and mucous membranes. To prevent tooth decay in adults and children, Xylitol gum should be chewed after eating, brushing and flossing prior to bed. Elderly people with dentures or dry mouth should chew gum or use lozenges with Xylitol to prevent both cavities and fungal infections. To reduce ear infections, using Xylitol lozenges or chewing Xylitol gum 8 times a day is very effective. Xylitol is not being used as a sugar substitute and can be found as a food additive. Xylitol products can be found in retail stores or over the internet. So, next time you are in the check out line, reach for the pack of gum with Xylitol and chew decay away!