Destroy Cavity Causing Bacteria with Xylitol

For over a decade, we have been encouraging patients who are at risk of tooth decay to consume xylitol sweetened products such as gum and mints.  Name brands that contain xylitol include, SPRY, EPIC, and PEELU among many others.  Xylitol acts as a "smart bomb" for the cavity causing bacteria and doesn't have the bad rap like artificial sweeteners. The ideal "dosage" is 6-10 grams per day.  Look for products that have xylitol listed as one of the first three ingredients. Typically one piece will have one gram of xylitol. 

The following is an abstract from a research article published in 2003 in the Journal of the California Dental Association:

An overview of studies about xylitol and dental caries suggests potential clinical dental applications for xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring, low-calorie sugar substitute with anticariogenic properties. Data from recent studies indicate that xylitol can reduce the occurrence of dental caries in young children, school children, and mothers, and in children via their mothers. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, is derived mainly from birch and other hardwood trees. Short-term consumption of xylitol is associated with decreased Streptococcus mutans levels in saliva and plaque. Aside from decreasing dental caries, xylitol may also decrease the transmission of S. mutans from mothers to children. Commercial xylitol-containing products may be used to help control rampant decay in primary dentition. Studies of schoolchildren in Belize and Estonia, along with data from the University of Washington, indicate that xylitol gum, candy, ice pops, cookies, puddings, etc., in combination with other dental therapies, are associated with the arrest of carious lesions. A prospective trial in Finland has demonstrated that children of mothers treated with xylitol had lower levels of S. mutans than children of mothers treated with chlorhexidine or fluoride varnish. Food products containing xylitol are available commercially and through specialized manufacturers, and have the potential to be widely accessible to consumers.