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Xylitol and Sugar-free Products – Hidden Benefits and Precautions

If you’ve ever eaten sugar-free products, especially gum or hard candy, you’ve probably seen xylitol listed as an ingredient. For years, the FDA has approved xylitol for use as a sugar substitute in many different products. Aside from the obvious benefit of less calories when compared to table sugar, xylitol has also proved to be beneficial for oral and dental health. In fact, xylitol has been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay, prevent “dry mouth,” promote stronger teeth, and decrease the formation of plaque. For these reasons, the use of xylitol as a sugar substitute has grown.

A study published in the British Dental Journal on October 7 found that products made with xylitol are extremely beneficial. At the same time, the study also warned consumers to be aware of the other common ingredients often used with xylitol, namely acidic flavorings and preservatives. Both of these ingredients, which are commonly used in fruit-flavored candies and gums, are known to cause dental erosion if consumed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, these ingredients could negate the benefits of xylitol.

While consumers don’t have to completely avoid acidic flavorings and preservatives; they should not eat them in excess. Though Xylitol may be beneficial to overall oral and dental health, it shouldn’t be viewed as a fix for a dental problem you may be suffering from.

The only way to ensure that your teeth and mouth are – and remain – healthy is to schedule routine appointments with a dentist you can trust. Only a dentist is able to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and free of infection, erosion, or decay. To schedule routine visits with Dr. Siegel, patients can simply call or email our office. We will work to provide you with information you need and address any concerns you may have.