Xylitol protects the teeth from harmful bacteria
Sugar is known to cause tooth decay. Sugar itself is not bad for teeth, but it’s the process of eating sugar sets which is bad for teeth. Harmful bacteria in the mouth produce acid when they encounter and digest sugar. These acids destroy the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth which protects it. Over time, these repeated acid attacks destroy the enamel and form a cavity.
Xylitol is a dental-friend option to sugar. Xylitol differs from sugar and other sweeteners so that instead of six carbon atoms, which e.g. sorbitol contains, its chemical composition is composed of five carbon atoms. This is why the bacteria which cause dental caries are not able to digest xylitol. Xylitol prevents the growth of bacteria and the amount of plaque in the mouth. When used regularly, xylitol not only prevents dental cavities but also fixes the damage on the enamel.
Xylitol in dental products
The recommended daily dosage for xylitol is 5 grams, which corresponds to 6 pieces of xylitol chewing gum or 8 xylitol pastilles. Products which are chewed or sucked for 5–10 minutes at a time give the best protection.
The more xylitol the product contains, the better protection it gives for the teeth. The best results can be achieved with the regular and long-term usage of full xylitol products. Remember to keep brushing your teeth!
The use of xylitol as a sweetener
The sweetness and structure of xylitol is very similar to white sugar, though xylitol has a slightly cool and fresh flavor. It contains pretty much the same amount of calories sugar but has a lower glycemic index (7).
Xylitol can be used like white sugar. It withstands heating well and can therefore be used for baking. Try for example Foodin’s birch sugar.