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Xylitol – What is It & How Can It Help Dental Cavities?

Woman putting gum into her mouthSugar is bad for your child’s teeth. This is because the bacteria that live in our mouths feed on the leftover sugar we eat, creating plaque and acids that can damage the enamel. Once the enamel has been compromised, tooth decay and dental cavities become much more likely. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to help children avoid sugar.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that has also been proven to be good for the teeth. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has even acknowledged xylitol as a way to prevent dental cavities. Xylitol, naturally derived from plants, is antimicrobial. This means that it will help to reduce plaque and lower the acid levels in the mouth.

Where Can Xylitol Be Found?

Xylitol is found in many toothpastes, mints, mouthwashes, and even some sugar-free chewing gums. In fact, sugar-free gum is the best way to get xylitol because gum is also great for increasing saliva production. Increased saliva production means there’s an even better chance of washing away acid, bacteria, food particles, and plaque. Chewing gum that contains xylitol for around 15 minutes a day has been shown to prevent dental cavities.

Please keep in mind that xylitol should not be used as a replacement for good at-home oral hygiene. You should still be helping your children brush at least twice a day, floss daily, and visit our office every six months for a dental cleaning and a checkup. For more information or to make an appointment for your child, please contact Piedmont Pediatric Dentistry. Our child’s dentist is located here in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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