Is Xylitol Safe for My Teeth?

Close-up of a brunette woman blowing a pink gum bubble against a red wall

Sugar has damaging effects on the teeth, encouraging acid production and speeding up the decay process. But what about xylitol, the sugar replacement found in sugar-free gums and mints?

Sugar and Oral Health

When you eat foods that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates, the bacteria on your teeth break them down and release harmful acid. This acid erodes the enamel, or the protective layer over your teeth, making it even easier for your teeth to develop cavities and decay.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is known as a sugar alcohol, but it doesn’t contain sugar nor does it contain alcohol. Instead, xylitol is a carbohydrate that looks like sugar and is sweet like sugar but isn’t considered an artificial sweetener because it is derived naturally.

How Is Xylitol Different From Sugar?

Xylitol is sweet like sugar but unlike sugar, it can actually promote good oral health! Instead of promoting acid production that is harmful for your teeth, xylitol can actually neutralize the acids in your mouth and ward off cavity-causing bacteria. In other words, xylitol is a sugar substitute that’s actually safe for your teeth!

What Products Contain Xylitol?

Common products that contain xylitol are sugar-free gum and mints, so if you need a quick and easy way to freshen your breath without the risk of exposing your teeth to sugar, choose something that contains xylitol. If you see an ADA (American Dental Association) seal on the packaging, even better: this means that your dentist will approve of that particular product!

You may have also noticed that your delicious toothpaste contains xylitol as well. It provides that sweet flavor without compromising your oral health!

Continue Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Remember that sugar-free gum and mints shouldn’t replace your regular brushing and flossing routine! Brush and floss your teeth twice a day to promote good oral health. If you have additional questions about xylitol or how sugar affects your oral health, our team at Del Ray Dental Center is happy to help you! Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

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