Today we’re going to look into something called xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar that is present in many fibrous fruits and vegetables. Surprisingly, this sugar has a lot of positive benefits and effects on your teeth.
Saliva is your body’s natural defence against cavities. Saliva helps neutralise the acids produced by the plaque on your teeth and helps rinse food particles from the mouth, which lowers your risk of tooth decay.
Many dentists indeed recommend chewing sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production. It’s best to avoid gum that contains sugar; whilst it may increase saliva production, the sugars provide food for the acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay. So be sure to look out for gum that is sugar-free.
So you might now be wondering how you can add more xylitol to your day to day life; xylitol is most commonly found in sugar-free chewing gums, lozenges, some toothpaste and even certain mouthwashes.
Some of the benefits of xylitol for your teeth are that it decreases the amount of plaque that form after you eat. It also limits the number of bacteria that adhere to your teeth which is one of the significant steps that have to occur in order for cavities to be formed. It also decreases the amount of acid that the bacteria are able to make.
Should I chew chewing gum after meals? Yes, as long as it’s sugar-free! The fact that the gum is sugar-free is very important for teeth because gum with sugar is something that can be metabolised and thus instigate the formation of cavities. So make sure it’s sugar-free, preferably xylitol, as opposed to some of the other artificial sweeteners because it’s naturally occurring.
Everybody knows that the best thing you can do after you eat is to brush and floss your teeth. However, sometimes, this isn’t always the most convenient thing to do, so remember to keep xylitol gum around because it’s great to use if you can’t brush and floss immediately.
Research by the Department of Dentistry at King’s College London in 2019 found that people who chew sugar-free gum develop 28% fewer cavities than those who do not. The equivalent figure for fluoride toothpaste and other supplements was 24%. The chewing of gum encourages saliva flow, remineralises teeth, neutralises plaque acids, and discourages over-consumption of sugary snacks — all big positives for improved oral health.
If you’re wondering where you can buy sugar-free gum, you can find it in most supermarkets, natural food stores or online. When you’re on the lookout for it, try to find mint gum. Mint gum contains menthol, a naturally occurring compound that can boost the body’s defence system. Menthol binds to trigeminal receptors in the nasal lining & upper airways, inhibiting virus anchorage. It can also help with minor throat irritations, and it is even prescribed in topical form for muscle aches.
Did you know that chewing gum can be a mood-booster that can actually reduce stress? A 2009 study found: “Chewing gum condition was associated with significantly better alertness and reduced state anxiety, stress and salivary cortisol. Overall performance on the framework was also significantly better in the chewing condition.”
And if all of these benefits weren’t enough to convince you already. In that case, it’s also been found that gum can improve alertness, productivity and performance levels. A 2017 study found: “Under experimental conditions, gum was associated with higher alertness regardless of whether performance tasks were completed. The chewing rate and the subjective force of chewing did not alter mood but had some limited effects on attention. Chewing gum during the workday was associated with higher productivity, and fewer cognitive problems raised cortisol levels in the morning and did not affect heart rate. The results emphasise that chewing gum can attenuate reductions in alertness, suggesting that chewing gum enhances worker performance.”
Be sure to eat healthy meals, drink plenty of water, brush twice a day, floss once a day and schedule regular dental check-ups. Chewing sugar-free gum is a simple way to help prevent cavities. If you liked this post, feel free to leave a comment and go ahead and share it with your friends!