Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars we eat. When you eat food containing ordinary sugar (sucrose), it gives the bacteria on your teeth energy, allowing them to multiply and start making acids that can eat away the enamel on the teeth. This “acid attack” causes tooth decay and cavities begin to form.
Xylitol protects the teeth from tooth decay by preventing bacteria from sticking to the teeth. It is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants, does not break down like sugar and can help maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth. Because bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities are unable to digest xylitol, their growth is greatly reduced.
By consuming 3-5 doses of xylitol per day, the number of acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 80%. Acid does not form because the pH of saliva and plaque does not fall. After consuming xylitol, the bacteria do not stick to the surface of the teeth and as a result, the amount of plaque decreases.
Consuming products with xylitol is not a replacement for good dental care. It is still important to have regular dental check ups and maintain a healthy balanced diet.
If you are interested in trying products containing xylitol, we carry a variety of Dr. John’s Xylitol Products: lollipops, Spry fruit candy (like nerds) and Spry xylitol mints. Some sugar-free gums, like Trident, also have xylitol. For best results, 3-5 doses per day are recommended. If you have any questions, just give us a call at (904) 215-7800.
For more information, please read the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s: Guideline on Xylitol Use in Caries Prevention