Eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, but it can be difficult to find snacks or cook without sugar. However, there is an all-natural sweetener that can help clean teeth and still satisfy your sweet tooth. Today, we discuss how sugar can cause cavities, and how xylitol is the perfect mouth-healthy replacement for sugar.
Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on your teeth, and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes.
Before buying your children snacks, check the back of the package for the amount of sugar contained in the snack. Try to avoid sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice and sports drinks, all of which are notoriously high in sugar. It can be hard to find packaged snacks without a lot of sugar, so you may consider adding more fruits and vegetables to your family’s diet. This can help cut a lot of sugar out of your overall diet, and improve your oral health.
Xylitol is a Sweetener, but Not Sugar
Xylitol tastes like sugar, but it’s very different. Sugar comes from the sugar cane plant, and is genetically different from xylitol. Xylitol is found in fruits and vegetables and its genetic makeup is much healthier for teeth than traditional sugar. The proteins and carbohydrates in traditional sugar fuel cavities, while the genetic makeup of xylitol prevents this from occurring.
Xylitol has the sweet benefits of traditional sugar, but it doesn’t have the negative effects on teeth like sugar.
One way the mouth fights cavities is by producing saliva to wash away food debris, and restore its proper Ph balance. Xylitol naturally stimulates saliva that aids in overall oral health. Increased saliva can help prevent bad breath by eliminating dry mouth, and prevent prolonged exposure to acid and sugar caused by food debris.
Try Xylitol Gum
A good way to try xylitol is by getting gum sweetened with xylitol. Try chewing it 15 minutes after a meal to improve your saliva production, and naturally clean your teeth. You can find xylitol gum is most health food stores, or online.
Xylitol also comes in granules that resemble traditional sugar. You can buy xylitol “sugar” from health food stores and natural grocers, usually in the baking aisle. Try substituting xylitol for sugar in your recipes, and see if the taste is affected. By incorporating more xylitol – and reducing your sugar intake – you can gain vital oral health benefits.
Cavities are the number one preventable disease affecting American children. By maintaining a healthier diet, you can help your child prevent cavities and promote a healthier smile. You should also encourage them to brush twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once daily. Also, visit our office every six months so that we can keep an eye on the state of your child’s smile and determine a treatment plan that keeps them cavity-free.