Dentist's Commentary: Is Xylitol Really Good for Teeth?

IMG 2017 preventive dentistry

Last updated August 14, 2023

Patient.
Patient.

We hear a lot about "xylitol," but is it really good for our teeth?

dentist
dentist

Yes! Xylitol is a tooth-healthy ingredient that is effective in preventing cavities. The safety and cavity-preventing effects of xylitol have been proven in studies around the world.

In this article, we will discuss xylitol, which is effective in preventing tooth decay.

What is Xylitol?

xylitol (artificial sweetener)

Xylitol is,It is a natural sweetener derived from birch, oak trees, corn cores, etc.

  • It has the same sweetness as sugar but is not a source of tooth decay.
  • In nature, it is found in fruits and plants.
  • The body's metabolism produces about 15 grams per day in the human liver.
  • Slow rise in blood glucose levels after ingestion
  • About 601 TP3T of sugar for calories.

The following are some of the characteristics

In Japan, it was approved as a food additive in April 1997, and is now used in tablets and gum as a sugar that is safe for the body and effective in preventing tooth decay.

In the medical field, xylitol is used in the sugar contained in infusions and has been proven safe for the body.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have recognized the caries-preventive effects of this product, and various organizations in Japan have also recognized its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay,The mechanism by which xylitol exerts its cavity-preventive effect has been studied and clarified.

Dentist s
Dentist s

Incidentally, xylitol has a cooling effect, so it is sometimes utilized in bedding and cosmetics that are cool to the touch.

Patient.
Patient.

Versatile! You don't just eat it!

Caries-preventive effect of xylitol

Xylitol Good for teeth

Xylitol prevents tooth decay through the following four effects

  • Prevents the production of tooth-dissolving acid
  • Suppresses activity of mutans bacteria
  • Promotes saliva production
  • Promotes remineralization of teeth

Prevents the production of tooth-dissolving acid

Mutans bacteria, which cause tooth decay, live by feeding on sugars that enter the mouth through food and other sources.

There are several types of sugars, and as a byproduct of breaking down sugars, mutans bacteria produce acids that dissolve teeth. The phenomenon of acid dissolving teeth is called "tooth decay. In fact, the amount of acid produced by mutans bacteria differs depending on the type of sugar.

The amount of acid produced by mutans bacteria from sugar is called "acid-producing capacity. Sugars with high acid-producing capacity, such as sugar and syrup, are,High risk of tooth decay due to ingestion because it produces a lot of tooth-dissolving acid when taken up by mutans bacteriaThis is the case.

Xylitol is unusual among sugars in that it has no acid-producing capacity. Therefore,It does not produce acid to feed mutans bacteria and does not cause tooth decay.

In addition, mutans bacteria produce acid not only from food, but also from sugar in the plaque left on the teeth. Xylitol suppresses the enzyme that breaks down the sugar in the plaque by increasing the concentration of alkaline ammonia,It does not allow acid to be produced from dental plaque, and even neutralizes the acid that has formed, thereby thoroughly eliminating the elements that cause tooth decay.

Suppresses activity of mutans bacteria

Xylitol has no acid-producing capacity, so when xylitol is taken up by mutans bacteria, it does not provide energy; on the contrary, it consumes energy for xylitol metabolism.

Therefore,The more xylitol the mutans bacteria take in, the less energy they have for activity and the less they are able to multiply.

As mutans bacteria proliferate, they become more active in producing acid and increase the risk of tooth decay, so using xylitol to inhibit the growth of mutans bacteria is an effective way to prevent tooth decay.

Promotes saliva production

Saliva helps to wash away stains on the teeth and neutralizes the acidic effect of the mouth after eating.

Acid dissolves teeth and causes cavities.The sweetness of xylitol stimulates salivary glands to secrete it, and the power of saliva neutralizes acid, thereby preventing tooth decay.

Promotes remineralization of teeth

Xylitol combines with calcium in saliva and other substances,Promotes remineralization of teeth.The acid produced by mutans bacteria gradually dissolves the teeth, which builds up to form a cavity hole. When teeth are remineralized, the dissolved tooth components return, preventing cavities from forming holes in the teeth.

Patient.
Patient.

Xylitol, it has no mercy on the mutans bacteria...

How to incorporate xylitol to effectively prevent tooth decay

Xylitol Usage

To effectively prevent cavities with xylitol, observe the following points.

  • Eat a tablet or gum containing xylitol at least 501 TP3T three times a day.
  • Continue for more than 3 months
  • Check the sugars contained with xylitol.

Eat a tablet or gum containing xylitol at least 501 TP3T three times a day.

To obtain the caries-preventive effect of xylitol,Eat gum or tablets containing xylitol at a concentration of 501 TP3T or higher three times a day, after each mealA good rule of thumb is to consume about 5 to 10 grams at a time.

As soon as you eat, the mutans bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars in your food and produce acid. Consuming xylitol after eating helps to neutralize the acid while reducing the amount of acid, thus preventing the teeth from dissolving.

Gum and tablet types are recommended because they can keep xylitol in the mouth for a relatively long time.

In addition, xylitol should be as highly concentrated as possible. Commercial xylitol products contain 30-701 TP3T, while xylitol products sold exclusively by dentists have concentrations of 90-1001 TP3T.

dentist
dentist

Even xylitol tablets and gum sold under the same name from the same manufacturer,Some concentrations differ between over-the-counter and dentists-only products, so check with them.

Lotte Xylitol Gum Lamichuck 35g [Dental use only] [Mailing address: up to 8 pieces

Continue for more than 3 months

A single dose of xylitol does not have a long-lasting cavity-preventive effect.Xylitol intake should be continued for at least 3 months.

The mutans bacteria that cause tooth decay are divided into two groups: those with high acid production and those with low acid production. The respective proportions of mutans bacteria in the mouth are about 90% for high acid producing mutans bacteria and 10% for low acid producing mutans bacteria.

The most effective way to prevent tooth decay is to increase the percentage of mutans bacteria that produce less acid while reducing the total amount of mutans bacteria. It takes about 3 months to be effective.

Check the sugars contained with xylitol.

100%When consuming a gum or tablet that is not xylitol, you want to check for the presence of sugars that are included with it.

Even if xylitol, which has no acid-producing capacity, is ingested,This is because the high acid-producing capacity of the sugars contained in both would make them meaningless.

Look at the package and choose one with a "sugarless" label or one that says "0 g sugar" on the ingredients list.

Cautions for xylitol intake

xylitol (artificial sweetener)

Xylitol is safe and effective in preventing cavities, but there are two important points to keep in mind when consuming it.

  • Brushing is a must.
  • Rarely has a loose stomach.

Brushing is a must.

Although xylitol is highly effective in preventing cavities,It does not remove plaque, which is the source of tooth decay.

The more plaque there is, the more acid is produced. As long as the amount of xylitol outweighs the amount of acid, cavities are unlikely to occur, but if the balance is lost and the acid becomes stronger, cavities will occur in no time.

Plaque is stuck to the teeth and cannot be removed without scrubbing with a toothbrush.Even if you are taking xylitol, be sure to brush your teeth.

May cause loose stomach

Xylitol increases the water content of the large intestine.May cause loose stomach when ingestedTherefore, reduce intake when these signs are present.

Use xylitol to prevent cavities in a delicious way!

People with clean teeth

Xylitol is safe for the body and effective in preventing tooth decay.It has a gentle rise in blood glucose levels after ingestion and is low in calories, about 60% of sugar, making it safe for people with diabetes to incorporate.

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Graduated from Nagasaki University School of Dentistry, ~2018 Kyushu Medical Center, 2018-present Working at a dental clinic in Tokyo

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After completing clinical training, worked in cosmetic dentistry in Tokyo. Currently a dentist and dental writer.

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