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The Battle of Sugar

Bacteria lives in the plaque attached to your teeth. When sugars and carbohydrates are eaten, the first step of digestion begins in the mouth. These items get broken down and produce an acidic substance that can eat away at the enamel on your teeth. This can promote tooth decay and eventually cavities. Unlike sugar xylitol is not broken down by the bacteria in your mouth. Because of this, xylitol can help keep a neutral pH balance in your mouth, which helps protect from tooth decay.

In several studies, scientists have found that people who regularly chew gum containing xylitol after meals and snacks, have a lower occurrence of tooth decay than people who do not chew gum that contains xylitol. By chewing gum that contains xylitol five times daily it can reduce plaque and make it easier to remove plaque when brushing. Look for sugar-free candies and gum that contain xylitol instead for example Trident.

1. Kandelman D, Gagnon G; “A 24 month clinical study of the incidence and progession of dental caries in relation to consumption of chewing-gum containing xylitol in school preventive programs”. 1990, J Dent Res, 69;1771-1775.
2. Mikinen KK, Bennett CA, Hujuel PP, Isokangas KP, Pape HR, et al.; “Xylitol chewing gums and caries rates: a 40 month cohort study”. 1995 J Dent Res, 74:(12), 1904-1913.
3. Mikinen KK, et al; “Stabilization of rampant caries: polyol gums and arrest of dentine caries in two long-term cohort studies in young subjects”. 1995, Int Dent J 45(1):93-107.