Do you want to avoid cavities in 2017? Really, who doesn’t? With preventive dental care and some healthy habits , cavities are preventable. Sadly, most studies indicate that over 90 percent of the adults in America are likely to struggle with dental decay this year. Cavities can require restorative treatment, like dental fillings, and left to progress even more extensive measures, such as root canal therapy. Fortunately, preventive care isn’t complicated. In fact, if you are hoping to avoid dental decay, there is a not-so-secret weapon that could help. In addition to daily dental hygiene, a healthy diet and routine preventive visits for cleanings, xylitol is an ingredient your smile could use to stay healthy!
What Is Xylitol?
For those who haven’t heard of xylitol, yet, it is actually a naturally occurring sugar substitute that can be made using fibrous plant material. Many find that it tastes more similar to table sugar than other alternatives, but its benefits to dental health are of particular note.
Because xylitol is considered a sugar alcohol, doctors have found that it has a different impact on one’s dental health than sugar. Not only can the bacteria in the mouth not feed upon xylitol the way they can sugar, it has actually been shown to limit the bacteria’s ability to feed, at all. This is great news in cavity prevention, because limiting tartar buildup is key to protecting the teeth’s enamel from the harmful acidity it creates.
You can find xylitol in many sugar-free chewing gums, which are a helpful way to gently clean the teeth between brushings. Some mints and other products also contain xylitol.
Dental fillings are, of course, a fast way to address most cavities, but avoiding them entirely is always the best idea.