Some of our patients at the Sugar House Dentist in Salt Lake City ask if xylitol gum is an effective substitute for teeth brushing and regular dental exams. The short answer is no: it isn’t enough to prevent dental fillings.
Before getting to the long answer, let’s examine xylitol.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that was first discovered in birch tree bark. It is also found in many fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other sweeteners (natural or synthetic), xylitol is actually helpful for your teeth.
Numerous clinical studies have shown that xylitol hinders the growth of the bacteria that initiates cavities. It also reduces plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.
Xylitol has other benefits, as well. Because it is low on the glycemic index, many patients with diabetes enjoy it as a healthy alternative to sugar. For those who cope with frequent dry mouth, xylitol gum or mints can stimulate saliva production.
Now, back to the longer answer. Make no mistake: xylitol gum is no substitute for brushing your teeth and seeing your family dentist regularly. Not even close! If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, chewing xylitol gum for five or ten minutes is probably a good idea. But you should still brush your teeth thoroughly (with a soft brush) after meals, and get twice-yearly exams and dental cleanings.
At The Sugar House Dentist, our goal is to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life by preventing dental issues before they start. If you postpone dental visits until you feel pain, you risk losing teeth and most certainly will require more extensive treatment than if the problem was caught earlier.
The Sugar House Dentist in Salt Lake City provides family dentistry, which dental fillings and teeth cleaning. We also treat gum recession, and provide cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Call us to make an appointment. Our friendly team is waiting to take care of all your dental needs.
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