Xylitol and oral health
By Alison Logee, RDH, Ayurveda and Reiki Practitioner
Xylitol looks and tastes just like sugar. The difference is that sugar has a destructive effect on the body and is acid forming, while xylitol helps build immunity and is alkaline enhancing. It is good for your teeth, stabilises insulin and hormone levels and promotes good health. Despite its’ chemical sounding name, Xylitol is a safe natural sweetener found in fibrous vegetables, fruit and in corn cobs as well as various hardwood trees like birch. During normal metabolism the human body can produce up to 15 grams of xylitol per day.
Xylitol metabolises in the body without using insulin. It protects against chronic degenerative disease, has anti-ageing benefits, is antimicrobial, heals and repairs.
Diet plays a major role in dental heath. With excess sugar intake the immune system is weakened, an acidic environment is created and oral health issues begin. Most oral bacteria are benign but when sugar is introduced it feeds the destructive strains, enabling them to proliferate. These bacteria cause inflammation of the gums, contribute to bone and ligament destruction around the teeth and cause tooth decay. Xylitol reverses all destructive effects of sugar on oral health. It is non-fermentable and cannot be converted to acids by oral bacteria, allowing proper alkaline/acid balance in the mouth to be restored. Destructive bacteria do not like an alkaline environment so the formation of plaque can be inhibited and the fermentation process leading to tooth decay, stopped. Prolonged xylitol use increases protective factors in saliva such as minerals. These factors are especially important for people suffering with a dry mouth due to illness, ageing or drug side-effects. For those who do not support the use of fluoride, it is advisable to chew xylitol gum or suck a xylitol mint after every meal, even after eating sweet snacks. Using xylitol right before bedtime, after brushing and flossing, protects and heals the teeth and gums and has the ability to enhance the mineralisation of tooth enamel.
Refer to the internet to see how xylitol can be used in your favourite recipes. Something healthy to add to your baking!