Weston Dentist Dr Pyle Offers Tooth Decay Prevention Advice—Use Xylitol!
We tell all our Weston dental patients, especially parents of children, to use Xylitol gum and mints after all meals and snacks.Not only do you avoid the cavity-causing sugar (sucrose) in ordinary gums and mints, but Xylitol actually reduces dental plaque buildup, which is the first step in cavity formation, and can even repair damaged enamel!
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural, low-calorie sweetener derived from plants. It has a sweet taste identical to that of regular sugar; and has been available in Europe since the 1940s.During the past several years, a larger number of Xylitol containing products (gums, mints, candies, toothpaste, rinses,bulk sweetener, etc) have become more widely available in the US.
How does Xylitol work to prevent tooth decay?
Foods with ordinary sugar (sucrose), are a source of energy for the bacteria on your teeth, causing them to multiply and produce acids that can eat away tooth enamel, which is the beginning of tooth decay and cavities.The bacteria in your mouth cannot break Xylitol down and use it as fuel for growth.Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth.Studies have shown that the number of acid-producing bacteria may fall by as much as 90% after Xylitol use.
Furthermore, research indicates that regular use of Xylitol can even help repair damage to the enamel. After using Xylitol products, the concentration of basic amino acids and ammonia in saliva and plaque may rise, which raises the pH. When pH is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts normally found in your saliva can start to move into those parts of enamel that are weak. Therefore, softened, calcium deficient enamel sites can begin to harden again.
How Often Do I and My Kids Need to Use Xylitol?
Weston dentist Dr Pyle recommends using Xylitol-containing gums, mints, etc after every meal and snack (three to five times a day).It is important to chew the gum or let the mints dissolve slowly (approximately 5minutes) so there is enough exposure in your mouth to the Xylitol.