Does the Chewing Gum (w/ Xylitol) Prevent Tooth Decay?

Does the Chewing Gum (w/ Xylitol) Prevent Tooth Decay?

Xylitol might make your chewing gum taste sweeter however whether it stops tooth decay is uncertain.

What is Xylitol?

It is a substitute sweetener mainly used in candies and gum. It is an alternative to real sugar for people who might be diabetic, on a diet, or for people who simply want to eliminate granulated sugar from their foods and sweets.

It comes from birch trees and is extracted from the wood in the trees. The original use for Xylitol was for medicinal reasons; to treat inner ear infections or severe sinus issues.

The ingredient is a naturally growing alcohol, which is found in numerous plants. Many veggies and fruits have this ingredient in them.

A couple other common names for Xylitol are Birch Sugar and Pentane-1,2,3, etc.

Dental Care Products

Many companies add Xylitol to dental health care products as well. This ingredient is added to such products because many believed that it would stop tooth decay. Other dental patients tried the products because they were experiencing dry mouth and the sweetening agent was supposed to help eliminate that oral problem too.

Does the Chewing Gum w/ Xylitol Prevent Tooth Decay?

Some blogs and/or articles that are online that advertise Xylitol brag about the benefits of this ingredient and that it stops tooth decay by eliminating the growth of bacteria, as stated “by the December issue of Consumer Reports on Health” (The American Dental Association. (2019)).

However, the proof remains uncertain as to whether chewing gum with the Xylitol sweetener in it – and in the volumes normally used – provides any advantages over sugar-free gum overall, which can stop tooth decay by enhancing saliva protection.

If consumers want to know for sure that their sweetened chewing gum is harmless and effective, there should be a Seal of Acceptance on the packaging; from the American Dental Association.

ADA — Clinical Research/Studies

Experimental research and studies were conducted by the American Dental Association. The studies revealed that when individuals chewed the gum that had Xylitol in it after a snack or a meal, for about twenty minutes, it prevented cavities.

The theory is that while someone chews the sugar-free gum, there is an increase in saliva and the increase in spit helps to wash small pieces of food away. Another theory is that the increase of saliva within the mouth lowers the amount of acids in the mouth (generated by bacteria) and give the mouth and teeth disease-battling elements. An additional theory is that the increase in spit additionally results in additional phosphate and calcium, which helps make the enamel on the teeth stronger.

ADA Recommendations

Even with scientific research and studies, the American Dental Association suggests that consumers continue to floss and brush their teeth as recommended by their dentist; whether they use the chewing gum with xylitol in it or not. Additionally, the ADA recommends using products that contain fluoride and oral dental care products that help fight plaque and tooth decay.

When you see the ADA Seal of Acceptance on your sugar-free chewing gum (with Xylitol), that is a promise that the product has met all criteria for efficiency and that it is safe to use. Each manufacturer of this type of product must show all details about the product (all ingredients) to the ADA.

References:

Webmd.com. (2019). XYLITOL. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-996/xylitol

Colgate.com. (2019). American Dental Association. Retrieved from https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/cavities/ada-11-chewing-gum-with-xylitol-not-proven-to-inhibit-cavities

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