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Xylitol

The History, Benefits and Research Behind the Miracle Xylitol!

What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural five carbon sweetener that can be extracted from plants. Xylitol is taken mostly from corn because extraction from wood is a technical and a wasteful process. Marketing myths that says the plant source of xylitol impacts the end product (i.e., corn vs. birch), but any scientist will tell you there’s no molecular difference in the harvested end product with regards to its source - be it corn or birch.

What does Xylitol Do?
Xylitol Prevents Cavities: Xylitol’s unique molecular structure works against bacteria. Studies show that 6 grams of the xylitol found in 100% Xylitol Gum reduce acid-producing bacteria. By reducing the bacteria, you reduce cavities.
Xylitol Chewing GumXylitol Is Diabetic Friendly Sweetener: Xylitol is only an 11 on the glycemic index, and since xylitol contains 40% fewer calories than sugar, you’ll be smiling each time you step on the scale as well.
Xylitol Soothes & Quenches Dry Mouth: Xylitol not only naturally stimulates saliva flow, but also fights the cause of the acid production. Both gum and mints are
ideal ways produce additional saliva. You’ll find our mouthwash an ideal catalyst for an extra dose of cavity-fighting-gentle-buffer-building goodness.
Xylitol Can Help Prevent Kids’ Ear Infections: Studies suggest that children especially, can benefit from using xylitol. In fact, in most of the xylitol research studies, children have been the key participants. Interestingly, studies have also shown that xylitol can strongly impact the bacteria that causes many inner-ear infections.

How does Xylitol Work?
Cavity-causing bacteria called strept-mutans break down the sugars in what we eat and drink. In this process they produce acid that breaks down the calcium and phosphate bonds in the tooth causing these essential components to leach out. The tooth eventually gets so weak that large holes form. However, xylitol constipates these bacteria stopping them from creating this acid.

A History Lesson
It all began in Finland during World War II. The Ports were blocked so sugar shipments never  made it to Finland. The government asked their scientists what other sugars may be available in Finland and were told that the bark from birch tress contained xylitol. The government built a factory to extract xylitol from the cellulose in the tree bark to provide a natural sugar to their citizens. After the war, it was decided that importing sugar was cheaper than extraction of xylitol, so the country went back to cane sugar. Years later, dentists noticed that children whose teeth erupted during the time xylitol was used had fewer caries than children before or after.
A few more comparisons with other Scandinavian countries confirmed that indeed something good happened when xylitol replaced sugar. With this information, researchers began investigating how xylitol impacted oral bacteria and the caries process.

Does Xylitol really work?
Researchers asked subjects to refrain from all oral hygiene and gave them xylitol several times a day as a sweetener in coffee, caramels and sweet rolls. In just four days, plaque levels were reduced by 50%. The study was repeated over 5 days, the results were the same.
Next were the complete sugar replacement studies, to replicate the wartime xylitol diet and compare it to a traditional sucrose diet, as well as a fructose diet. Providing and monitoring food intake for subjects over a two year period was enormous and expensive undertaking. Results of the Turku Sugar Studies showed an amazing 85% reduction in caries for those in the xylitol group. Dropping the total daily intake of xylitol from 67 grams to 6.7 grams produced the same results, 85% reduction in caries after 1 year compared to sucrose chewing gum. Researchers were amazed and excited with this finding.

 
Baseline 3 Days 7 Days   14 Days
  Effect of xylitol on teeth
F (%) 18.2 15.7 11.9 6.7
Size (mm2) 5.6 5.1 3.1 1.8
Changes in the fluorescence image of the experimental area of a human enamel specimen treated by toothpaste with a 500ppm Fluoride plus 5% xylitol during remineralization period.

Mothers, Children and Xylitol Use
Prevention is our goal. To do that, a mother’s mouth needs to be low in strept-mutans. Studies confirm that 100% xylitol gum used by mothers for a period of two years, prior to tooth eruption in their infants, leads to 70% less need for restorative care. When researchers went back several years after completion of the studies, a long term effect was measured. The children of mothers who chewed 100% xylitol-sweetened gum were five times less likely to have strept-mutans colonized in their mouths and still had 70% less caries than children whose mothers received several applications of either fluoride or chlorhexideine varnish over two years. Hundreds of xylitol research studies over the past 40 years demonstrate the ability of 100% xylitol-sweetened products used several times a day reduce both caries and periodontal pathogens, stimulate salivation, enhance remineralisation and reduce bad breath.
Most kids eat more between meal carbohydrates such as soda, chewing gum, milk, candy, fruit, juices, breads and cakes than adults. This regular exposure to sugar, together with their developing hygiene habits, increase their risk for cavities.
It’s difficult to get kids to brush and floss after meals the way they should, and nearly impossible to get them to brush after snacking. The acid-producing bacteria that cause cavities  feed on the sugars our kids eat and drink all day long. How can you improve your kids hygiene? That's simple. Get them to reduce bacteria by giving them xylitol chewing gum, or xylitol mints!

Can you think of a better way to help your kids fight cavities?

Strive for 5 Xylitol Exposures a Day
The key to achieving the results reported in the research is to use products sweetened with 100% xylitol and to use these products several times throughout the day. Research has shown that it’s not the total amount consumed, but rather the frequency of exposure throughout the day. blocking entry for the sugar molecules. Xylitol is an exciting ingredient that will make dental disease prevention both easy and sweet. Try it yourself. Use your tongue to feel the plaque accumulation along the surfaces of your lower front teeth where build up is common to get. Chew 100% xylitol sweetened gum after meals and snacks and on the first day you’ll feel a reduction in accumulation on these tooth surfaces.

Brushing and Flossing Doesn’t Work…But Xylitol Does!
Your dentist can repair cavities with fillings, but fillings don’t eliminate bacteria. Brushing and flossing simply aren’t enough to stop cavity-causing bacteria. And unless you use a new toothbrush every time you brush you’re actually reintroducing bacteria into your mouth. Xylitol can help reduce bacteria. When used in combination with proper oral hygiene habits, Xylitol can be an extremely effective tool in the fight against cavities. So why not try out some of our Xylitol Gum? Or our Xylitol Mints?

Where can I find Xylitol?
If, by chance, we do not have xylitol in stock be aware that most chewing gums available at the supermarket checkout are not sweetened with 100% xylitol. These chewing gums do not contain enough xylitol to achieve the benefits reported in research. Popular chewing gums such as Extra advertise xylitol on their packaging, but the list of ingredients that will often read sorbitol, mannitol, aspartame, acesculfame K, and sucralose are often listed before xylitol. In some products, xylitol is listed as less than 2%. These chewing gums do no reduce plaque formation, but instead provide a nutrient source for the bacteria and the acid production continues. The benefit of other “sugar-free” chewing gums is salivary stimulation, not bacterial reduction. Chewing gums, candies and other oral health products sweetened with only xylitol are available in health food stores or pharmacies, not the supermarket or dairys.

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