At the Fort Collins Dentist, patients often ask us if chewing xylitol gum is an effective substitute for tooth brushing and regular dental exams. In order to effectively answer that question, we have put together an expansive definition of Xylitol.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that was first discovered in birch tree bark, but can also be found in many fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other sweeteners, xylitol is actually helpful for your teeth. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that xylitol restricts the growth of the bacteria that initiates cavities. It also helps curb plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.
Xylitol has other benefits, too! Because it is low on the glycemic index, many of our patients with diabetes enjoy it as a healthy alternative to sugar. For patients that suffer from frequent dry mouth, we recommend xylitol gum or mints as a way of stimulating saliva production, while simultaneously safeguarding against cavities.
So, is xylitol gum just as effective as brushing your teeth and seeing your family dentist regularly? As shocking as this sounds after our definition, it’s actually not! If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, chewing xylitol gum for five or ten minutes is probably a good idea. However, you should still brush your teeth thoroughly after meals and get twice-yearly exams and dental cleanings. Xylitol might be good for maintenance, but nothing can replace regular brushing and a professional dentistry.
At The Fort Collins Dentist, our goal is to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life. We do this by preventing dental problems before they start. If you postpone dental visits until you feel pain, you risk losing teeth and will probably require more extensive treatment than if the issue were caught earlier. We treat satisfied patients in Loveland, Timnath, Wellington, and Windsor and offer general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Request an appointment today!