For years, xylitol has been FDA-approved as a sugar substitute in a variety of products that are commonly used today. Usually, xylitol is found in gum, hard candies, and other products labeled as “sugar-free.” Not only is xylitol lower in calories than sugar, the ingredient has proved to be very beneficial to dental health. In fact, studies have shown that xylitol prevents dry mouth, reduces plaque formation and the risk of tooth decay; and it is even helpful in promoting stronger and healthier teeth. That said, while xylitol does have some obvious benefits; consumers should be wary of some common additives that often appear in xylitol-sweetened products.
A study published on October 7 in the British Dental Journal found that products that have xylitol as an ingredient also commonly have other ingredients, such as preservatives and acidic flavorings, that can be harmful to the teeth. Preservatives and acidic flavorings may contribute to dental erosion. These ingredients are often used in fruit-flavored gums and candies, and can make such products more harmful than beneficial, even though xylitol is present.
Both preservatives and acidic flavorings are highly acidic, and when acid comes into contact with the teeth for a long period of time on a continuous basis, it can cause tooth decay, which can result in complete tooth loss. Consumers don’t necessarily have to completely stop eating or chewing candy or gum; but limiting consumption may be a good idea. That said, with proper dental hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, your teeth should remain healthy as long as you don’t over-indulge.
Of course, another important part of keeping a healthy mouth and smile is scheduling routine visits to your dentist. No ingredient or food is able to take proper care of your teeth, which means scheduled visits to the dentist are a must-have. Call Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins at 509-532-1111 in Spokane or 509-927-2273 in Spokane Valley, to schedule an appointment to help you maintain your smile and health.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-532-1111