Though it sounds ludicrous, there is a way to stop, or prevent, the cause of tooth decay and gum disease by brushing with sugar–actually, a certain kind of natural sugar substitute! An alternative to brushing with this sugar, is eating mints or chewing pieces of gum filled with this same sweetener, several times each day. The sugar, however, can’t be the types of sugars we are accustomed to having in our foods which include sucrose, fructose, glucose or sorbitol. These types of sugars are, technically, ‘six-carbon molecules’. The type of sugar discussed here, is a ‘5-carbon molecule’ called Xylitol; and without getting boringly technical, therein, lies the difference in terms of plaque-fighting ability and cavity-preventing effectiveness. The bacteria, within the human mouth, prefer ‘6-carbon’ sugars, but the ‘5-carbon’ Xylitol dramatically reduces bacterial growth and reproduction.
Xylitol And How It Works:
Xylitol is, as stated, a ‘5-carbon molecule’ which actually ‘fools’ disease-causing bacteria in the mouth into thinking the sugar is a legitimate food-supply for the bacteria’s proliferation. Bacteria needs a food source, and Xylitol ‘disguises’ itself as a normal sugar-food and is absorbed by the bacteria, yet it remains undigestible to the bacteria. As a result, the bacteria rejects the Xylitol; but the Xylitol is reabsorbed, rejected again, reabsorbed, etc. As this process continues, the bacteria will, eventually and literally, starve to death. Once the bacteria die off, they no longer have the ability to produce the substance that binds them together that hardens on the surfaces of one’s teeth.
So imagine a sweetener that can actually inhibit the formation of plaque in the mouth. Xylitol creates an unwelcome environment for bacteria which lose their capability of sticking to the surfaces of one’s teeth, thereby, reducing cavities and gum disease.
Xylitol has fewer calories than regular sugars and, therefore, has less effect on blood sugar. Xylitol has a low glycemic index of 7, compared to regular sugar’s level of 83. Xylitol is as sweet as sucrose with 33% fewer calories. It is absorbed more slowly than sugar; and since it does not contribute to high blood-sugar levels, this remains wonderful news for anyone dealing with diabetes!
Xylitol contributes to reducing bad breath by reducing plaque, as well as acting as a natural replacement for fluoride and can help reduce cavities by up to 80%. When used with fluoride toothpastes, it allows the fluoride to more easily penetrate the teeth.
Research indicates that individuals who chewed Xylitol 5 times each day, without brushing or flossing, over a controlled period of time, had the same results with decreased bacterial plaque as individuals who brushed and flossed several times, daily. With that being said, the Xylitol option is not meant to, necessarily, act as a substitute for daily brushing and flossing, but, rather, to serve as a potently proactive procedure to prevent cavities and gum disease which are caused by the very bacteria Xylitol destroys.
In summary, with over 25 years of testing, Xylitol has been clinically proven to dramatically help with:
1. Fighting and reducing plaque
2. Fighting cavities
3. Reducing secretion of plaque acids
4. Facilitating the remineralization of tooth enamel
Additionally, Xylitol is recommended by Dentists, Periodontists, Pediatricians, Pediadontists, and many other medical professionals, worldwide.
Author Byline: Miss Vic writes regularly about a variety of topics. Several of those topics include dental health and dentist los angeles.