Xylitol: A Sweeter Way to Improve Your Dental Hygiene
When you consume foods containing ordinary sugar (sucrose), the bacteria on your teeth multiply and produce acids that eat away at the enamel. Over time, these “acid attacks” can lead to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
Enter xylitol, a low-calorie, natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of fruits, vegetables, trees, and other plants. Unlike sugar, xylitol does not break down in your mouth. By maintaining a neutral pH, it helps fight harmful bacteria and “acid attacks” to contribute to a healthier oral environment.
Xylitol is a popular ingredient in many products, including sugar-free gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Here’s what you need to know about xylitol’s wide-ranging dental health benefits to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.
Xylitol Dental Health Benefits
As a low-calorie sugar substitute, xylitol offers a low glycemic index, making it an attractive alternative to sugar for people looking to lose weight. Research suggests that xylitol has unique antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
Because harmful, cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth cannot digest xylitol, xylitol-based products can effectively lower your risk of developing cavities. In a 2017 study, researchers found that xylitol helps reduce the amount of Streptococcus mutans bacteria in the mouth, which helps reduce the amount of plaque and subsequently prevent tooth decay.
Research also shows that xylitol can help repair damage to tooth enamel. Many people consume sugar so often that the mouth’s own defensive tools are not enough to protect against demineralization. To combat the loss of enamel, xylitol helps produce more alkaline saliva, promoting higher pH levels. In this environment, calcium and phosphate salts in saliva start moving toward vulnerable parts of the enamel, contributing to stronger, healthier teeth.
How does xylitol work?
Thanks to its ability to maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth, xylitol helps prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to your teeth. It protects against tooth decay by interfering with bacteria’s ability to produce acid and raising the mouth’s pH level.
Harmful bacteria prefer living in a low-pH environment, where they can produce the acid that demineralizes tooth enamel. When you introduce xylitol-based products into your oral care routine, these bacteria stop producing acid and simply slide off the teeth.
Essentially, xylitol helps reduce the harmful bacteria in your mouth by creating an alkaline environment conducive to your dental health. In contrast, harmful bacteria thrive with sugar, producing acid that eats away at tooth enamel and increasing your risk of cavities and gum disease.
Natural, Sustainable Xylitol-Based Oral Care Products
While reversing cavities and gum disease won’t happen overnight, taking steps to improve your oral hygiene routine can help you maintain a healthy smile for years to come.
To transform your oral care routine, join the sustainable luxury movement with Terra & Co. products. Shop our exclusive xylitol-based black oil pulling solution and black charcoal toothpaste to improve your dental hygiene with cruelty-free, sustainable oral care.