Last week we had a mom ask us what she could do because her daughter had a small cavity and would constantly “sneak” sweets even though she would try to stop her. We told her to give xylitol candy. The little girl was previously playing and ignoring our conversation, but suddenly seemed very interested! WHAT! Did my Dentist just tell my mom to give me candy!? YESSSS!!!
There is a lot of information floating around about xylitol and its benefits, but it seems that people may be a little confused as to how to use it “therapeutically”. There is a system to using it, and it’s much more powerful than it just appearing in gum as a sweetener!
You see, in order for xylitol to do what it does in regards to helping prevent cavities and stop plaque from forming, you need to have it a few times a day. Why? Because almost everything we do throughout the day creates acids in the mouth, and every time you take in a carbohydrate in your mouth it increases the acids for 20 minutes, and feeds the bacteria in plaque.
Yup, even “healthy” foods help increase cavities, and grazers have the worst time. Those raisins and cranberries in your trail mix may even be the worst, because dehydrated foods have the highest concentration of sugar, and they stick to the grooves of the teeth and eat away at the enamel.
Our bodies produce xylitol; we just need to add a bit more each day
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that comes from things like birch wood and corn. In fact, our bodies produce about 15 grams a day of xylitol, so all we need to is add some more and amazing things happen.
Amazing things like remineralization of the teeth, neutralization of the pH in the mouth, stopping plaque from continually growing (which is what sugar does and why plaque gets so acidic over time) and it increases saliva which is great for dry mouth sufferers. It even helps to alkalize your saliva which provides great long term benefits to control acids in the mouth.