Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, is a naturally occurring white crystal with the sweetness of sugar, but it doesn’t raise sugar levels in the blood, and it has fewer calories. With the growing awareness of the detrimental effects of sugar, many are searching for natural alternatives when it comes to sugar consumption. Xylitol is an excellent option!
Xylitol is found naturally in berries and some vegetables, and even the human body is able to produce a small amount of it through our metabolism. It has 40% fewer calories compared to regular sugar. It is also globally accepted as a natural sweetener approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 
Xylitol Gum vs. Sugar-Free Gum
Sure there a lot of sugar-free gums available at your local grocers but most of these sugar-free gums contains “artificial sweeteners“ that has been linked to vascular diseases, diabetes and obesity.
According to Brian Hoffmann, assistant professor in the department of biomedical engineering at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University, “Both sugar and artificial sweeteners seem to exhibit negative effects linked to obesity and diabetes, albeit through very different mechanisms from each other.” 
Xylitol, however, is a natural sweetener that comes from corncobs and birch trees. So not only is xylitol a healthy option – it’s natural too!
How Xylitol Fights Dental Plaques
Cavities are primarily caused by acids produced by the bacteria living in our mouths, specifically a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. which feed on sugars and carbohydrates from the food you eat, and produces acidic by-products which erode teeth’s enamel causing cavities.
Since these bacteria feed on sugar, by replacing your sugar intake with xylitol, the sugar supply for the bacteria to feed on is reduced. In addition, the bacteria will ingest the xylitol, and become unable to take up any glucose you may consume.
Therefore, including xylitol in your diet can inhibit the cavity-causing bacteria S. mutans and thus reduce your risk of developing cavities. Evidenced-based studies show that by replacing some sugars in your diet with xylitol can reduce new cavities by 30-85%. That’s a huge difference compared to commercially produced sugar!
Also, because cavities can also cause gum problems, xylitol as a sugar substitute can prevent gingivitis in the long run. When it pertains to safety and efficacy, one study confirmed that by using xylitol-sweetened chewing gum can reduce levels of the bad bacteria by 27-75% and not affecting or destroying the good bacteria that are in your mouth.
These are some of the benefits of xylitol, we have published another article entitled “ Xylitol vs. Stevia: The Only Sugars your Teeth Will Love?” which tackles another aspect of sugar sweeteners. Just click on the link or visit us at Energetic Smile to learn more!
- American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Policy on the use of xylitol in caries prevention (2010) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4232036/#b2-ccide-6-089 (Accessed June 14, 2018)
- Lardieri, A. ( 2018 April 23 ). Study: Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Diabetes, Obesity . Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/news/health-care-news/articles/2018-04-23/study-artificial-sweeteners-linked-to-diabetes-obesity
- Myers Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. Cavity Fighting with XYLITOL Gum. Retrieved from https://www.tooth2tooth.com/fact_sheets/Xylitol.pdf (Accessed June 14, 2018)
- Riley P. & Moore D. et.al. (2015 March 26) Xylitol-containing products for preventing dental caries inj children and adults. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25809586 (Accessed June 14, 2018)
- Eukalert. ( 2018 April 22). Why zero-calorie sweeteners can still lead to diabetes, obesity. Retrieved from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/eb2-wzs041218.php
- Gunnars, K. ( 2018 October 4 ). Xylitol: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/xylitol-101
- Xylitol.org ( 2018 ). Why You Should Be Chewing Xylitol Gum. Retrieved from https://xylitol.org/why-you-should-be-chewing-xylitol-gum/