Dr. John Tortora may recommend Xylitol to help you prevent cavities naturally. Tooth decay can cause serious damage to your oral health, and in some cases can lead to tooth loss. Call us at 732-295-1616 for more information about Xylitol and schedule your appointment with our caring dentist in Brick, New Jersey.
There’s a battle going on in our mouths and xylitol can help us all win and easily give us healthier mouths. While oral disease continues its rampage against teeth and gums, as a profession we should be doing much more on the front end of this problem to prevent it.
“Natures Miracle Preventative” is Here Now
For many populations worldwide, the levels of dental caries have reached epidemic proportions. Even in the U.S., childhood tooth decay is on the rise. I have heard some patients of mine claim that they are victims to this disease that caused their mouthful of cavities because they were born with the misfortune of having “soft teeth.” Many people believe that cavities and gum disease are inevitable. Sadly these people are probably waiting for a future miracle drug that will kill the bugs that are behind all of these problems. However the closest thing we have to a “miracle drug” is already here and it’s not a drug – it’s xylitol, a naturally occurring substance that is as sweet as candy and disarms the bad cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. With consistent use of xylitol, the nasty oral bacteria are rendered virtually harmless. Studies have shown that five to 10 grams of xylitol a day can reduce the acid-producing bacteria by as much as 95 percent after six months. Pure xylitol looks and tastes like regular white table sugar and it is used to sweeten a variety of candies and chewing gum, in addition to toothpastes and mouth rinses.
We all know that sucrose (white table sugar) and other refined carbohydrates serve as food for the harmful bacteria in our mouths, resulting in acid production that destroys tooth structure. Xylitol is a different kind of sugar known as a polyol. It occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables and is produced in the human body as well. Side by side in a sugar bowl you can’t really tell them apart and they both taste deliciously sweet, however, xylitol has a much different effect on the bad bacteria in our mouths, preventing it from adhering to the tooth surfaces. Also, since the bacteria can’t metabolize xylitol, they can’t create the acid by-product that is created when bacteria eats up regular sugar. The xylitol-fed bacteria starve and die off! Regular use of xylitol has been shown to not only reduce tooth decay but also facilitate the remineralization of teeth.
We Need Xylitol Now
Dental caries affects the populations in every country. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in the U.S. by the time kids are age 17, almost 80 percent have experienced tooth decay. In Finland it is practically the opposite where 80 percent of high school graduates have no caries. What is the difference? Finland schools regularly distribute xylitol to the students. Need more proof? Dr. Peter Allen, head of the Ministry of Health in Belize, reports that in his country’s landmark study, xylitol reduced caries by more than 50 percent with results continuing to show that same reduction even five years after the study (and xylitol usage) was completed. It appears that xylitol usage has a very long-lasting effect.
Knowing that a child’s major oral infection source is his or her mother, studies in Finland showed that maternal use of xylitol can prevent the colonization of theStrep Mutans in the dentition of the child. This leads to caries prevention in the child. Additionally, Professor Brian A. Burt, editor-in-chief of Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, stated that “the evidence is strong enough to support the regular use of xylitol-sweetened gum as a way to prevent caries, and it can be promoted as a public health preventive measure.”
Dr. Catherine Hayes from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology published a review of the evidence in theJournal of Dental Education and she felt so strongly about the positive effects of xylitol’s strong caries protective effect, she stated, “it would be unethical to deprive subjects of its potential benefits.” Yet how many dental health professionals are educating their patients about the benefits of xylitol and delivering it to them in the office? Sadly very few.
A Candy Store
You will be amazed at all of the delicious treats that are 100 percent sweetened with xylitol. You will find boxed chocolates, caramels, taffy, lollipops, hard candies, flavored mints and chewing gum. Have a plentiful supply of them on hand. Don’t be fooled by general marketplace products like Trident chewing gum for example, which proclaim on the package that it contains xylitol but actually contains only traces of the ingredient.
Go with products that clearly say how many grams of xylitol are in each serving. Products geared toward the serious “sweetened 100 percent with xylitol” user usually have a total of one gram of xylitol in two individual pieces of gum or mints. Here are three leading Web sites to learn about xylitol’s benefits and where to buy products:
http://www.zellies.com/ is from Dr. Ellie Phillips. She wrote the book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye about xylitol’s benefits.
http://www.xlear.com/ is from the makers of Spry xylitol products. They are one of the larger distributors of xylitol products.
http://www.drjohns.com/ is a company founded by a dentist and his wife who is a hygienist. They have a huge variety of unique xylitol chocolates and candies.
http://www.vitacost.com/ for good prices on xylitol products.
All of the above companies will also sell you granular xylitol for around $8 per pound. That might be the most economical way to get your xylitol. A quarter teaspoon of granular xylitol is one gram. The healthy benefits of xylitol are maximized by getting one to two grams of xylitol during five separate exposures throughout the day. “Strive for five!” (exposures) is the xylitol battle cry. You can keep a quarter teaspoon measure in the granular xylitol container, scoop it and place it directly in my mouth. The delicious sweetness has a cooling effect and it dissolves almost instantly and stimulates plenty of saliva. Swish it around for a minute or two and then brush my teeth before spiting it out. You don’t have to swallow the xylitol, it just needs to be in your oral environment to be effective.
The Xylitol Buzz Is Beginning!
Why isn’t xylitol being enthusiastically promoted by every dentist and hygienist? Could it be that most dentists are so wrapped up in fixing the disease damage, they haven’t noticed the xylitol message. Hard to imagine most people having teeth without decay, isn’t it? A new mindset is springing up among progressively conservative dental professionals to mount a pre-emptive strike that includes using xylitol as a protective agent to seriously disarm the bacteria involved in the destruction of teeth and the disease in gums.
We encourage you to read the following article to gain a better understanding of oral disease and the benefits of Xylitol: