If you've ever had Ice Breakers gum, Spry mints or a hard candy from our office, you have enjoyed the benefits of Xylitol sweeteners. Xylitol is a natural sugar that is harvested from plants. While it tastes sweet like glucose, a slight difference in chemical structure prevents it from being digested by our oral bacteria. As such, foods with sufficient xylitol content can help prevent tooth decay!
When our mouth bacteria encounter typical sugars (glucose, fructose, cooked starches, etc.), their enzymes process it to make acid that causes tooth decay. However, xylitol interferes with these enzymes and stops the bacteria in their tracks. You will typically find xylitol in products like gum, mints and toothpaste, but it can be used to sweeten anything. Dr. John's candies are a great example of tasty, low calorie xylitol treats (try them at our office!).
As with anything, enjoy xylitol in moderation! Too much in one setting can cause stomach aches and GI distress. Additionally, xylitol is poisonous to dogs, so make sure you keep it out of Fido's reach. If you have any other questions about xylitol or its benefits, don't hesitate to call our office!