The cavity/tooth decay prevention is an essential aspect often associated with the naturally occurring substance and sugar substitute, xylitol. In fact, this is why it is approved as a sugar substitute, even when it comes to chewing gums.
The popularity of xylitol is constantly on the rise, and the reasons are many. This substance is in fact derived from the bark of birches, cottonseed hulls, coconut shells, plums and raspberries. Its sweetness renders it quite similar to the taste of traditional refined white sugar. The main reason why xylitol does not contribute to tooth decay is the fact that it is resistant to the bacteria Mutans Streptococci and does not produce acid. In fact, by including xylitol in the diet, the presence of this bacteria can be diminished, since xylitol has the ability to starve Mutans Streptococci up to a point of disappearing.
Researches have shown that people who have started using xylitol in one way or another, whether as a component of cookies, mints, candies or simply by chewing a gum with xylitol, have fewer occurrences of tooth decay and cavities. An additional benefit that comes with the usage of products that contain xylitol is the increased flow of saliva that activates neutralizing features that protect the teeth from acid attacks. The reaction that occurs between the calcium rich saliva and xylitol results in the re-mineralization of the teeth, that in turn accounts for their natural hardening.
Although xylitol is pretty much safe, different dosing is recommended depending on the severity of the condition (meaning cavities and tooth decay). According to scientific research, caries-risk patients and those that suffer from chronic cavity issues should consume three to five pieces of gum with xylitol and chew it for five minutes four times a day, preferably after meal or snack time. Put in numbers, the daily recommended dose of xylitol for children is between 7 and 20 grams. Adults can consume up to 50 grams per day but it is best to consult your doctor regarding higher dosage. Although xylitol is safe, there are side effects of taking too much xylitol. So far, the only side effect that has been noticed is an unnoticeable to moderate laxative effect.
For people who are unable to chew a gum with xylitol, due to old age or occlusion, there is always the option to use mouth sprays or toothpastes that contain this substance and still get the desired protective effect.