Current research is now promoting the use of xylitol to decrease the incidence of dental decay. Xylitol is not an artificial sweetener, but a naturally occurring five-carbon sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohol is neither sugar nor alcohol. It is a carbohydrate that resembles sugar but without the harmful effects of sugar. It is
derived from fibrous parts of plants, vegetables, and berry-type fruit.
The average American consumes large amounts of sugar per day. The cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths, feed on sugar and then multiply rapidly. The bacteria excrete the acidic plaque film that sticks
to the teeth and causes decay. Unlike sugar, xylitol is not a food source for the bacteria and actually inhibits the production of plaque. The less plaque build-up, the fewer bacteria which results
in far less decay. Research has shown that xylitol is most effective if consumed throughout the day. Since xylitol is available not only as a sugar substitute but can also be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, candies, mints and chewing gum, it is a way to help keep our teeth decay free.
So with Halloween right around the corner, remember to chew that gum with xylitol sugar substitute in between the sugar binges!