Xylitol is a naturally occurring plant alcohol found in most fruits and vegetables. For use in medicines, it is mostly extracted from birch wood. Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute in order to reduce the sugar content in many chewing gums, mints and candies. Xylitol’s medicinal uses include preventing ear infections and as an additive to foods to help patients with diabetes and prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.
How Does It Work?
Xylitol tastes sweet but is not converted into acids in the mouth like sugar is. Xylitol is able to transform the type of oral bacteria from the kind that causes cavities, to the kind that doesn’t cause cavities. It is essential to use xylitol products on an on-going basis, as just one use won’t prevent cavities. Make sure the dose of xylitol in the products you are using is enough because it is recommended to intake between 1-20 grams of xylitol per day to experience the cavity preventing benefits. Some xylitol-containing products only contain a trace amount of xylitol, so make sure to look at the label.
Xylitol is safe within the recommended daily doses (that being between 1-20 grams per day for adults and children) If more is ingested, it can lead to gastrointestinal upset such as gas and diarrhea. If a huge amount of xylitol is ingested for a long duration of time (more than three years), there is a potential link to tumours. For both adults and children, make sure to stay within the safe range of ingestion, under 20 grams per day.
It is important to note that xylitol is toxic for dogs, even in small amounts. Make sure to keep xylitol products out of the reach of dogs and small children. If your dog ingests a xylitol product, bring them to the vet immediately.
In addition to using xylitol products, also continue using fluoride toothpaste to help combat the risk of cavities for yourself and your child. If you have any questions about xylitol or how much to use, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.