Xylitol is Sweet!
Are your patients leaving your office with a toothbrush and floss? Do they leave with a piece of xylitol gum? They should!
Xylitol is an easy, tasty way that your patients can fight cavities. Over 40 years of research and thousands of studies have confirmed its effectiveness and safety. This sweetener derived from plants is a naturally occurring carbohydrate, that looks and tastes just like regular table sugar. It does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol can also prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth, reducing the amount of plaque in the mouth. Since bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities cannot digest xylitol, their growth may be decreased by up to 90% with the use of xylitol products. This sweetener is also safe for your diabetic patients.
Research has shown that incorporating 8 to 10 grams of xylitol into your patients’ daily routine has substantial oral health benefits. At least 5 “exposures” to xylitol are recommended to have a positive impact on oral health. In addition to the suggestions below, gum, mints or candy may be used during the day for more exposures.
Strive for 5:
- Use Xylitol toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray upon waking up
- After breakfast use Xylitol gum, mints or candy
- After lunch use Xylitol gum, mints or candy
- After dinner use Xylitol gum, mints or candy
- Use Xylitol toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray upon going to bed
Not all products containing xylitol are equal. Look for items containing 100% xylitol. Some examples of these products include: Epic gum, Xlear products and Theramints. Your patients can find these items at local health food stores, the Internet, or consider carrying them in your office.