What is Xylitol?

Meadows Gate Dental Specializes in Children’s Dentistry

What is Xylitol? How can it help with children’s dentistry and tooth decay? Meadows Gate Dental is a family dentistry practice focused on improving the dental health of children. Ensuring that children have a diet that enables good oral health is key to managing and reducing tooth decay.

Xylitol Benefits: It Helps to Reduce Cavities

Tooth decay is a common, yet preventable childhood problem.  Left untreated, cavities in baby and permanent or adult teeth can become painful and can negatively impact the aesthetics and functionality of children’s teeth.  Some children are more susceptible to tooth decay than others; even when they receive good oral care at home and regular dental examinations. A substance called xylitol has been shown to be beneficial for reducing tooth decay in children.

Xylitol is a natural substance that can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.  Some of the most common xylitol-rich foods include: berries (one cup contains a little less than one gram xylitol), mushrooms and lettuce.  Studies show that children who are provided with four to 20 grams of xylitol each day (divided into three or more portions throughout the day) were able to reduce tooth decay and cavities by 70%.

Children and toddlers are unlikely to be able to eat four or more cups of fruit or vegetables a day. Therefore it is necessary to supplement the diet with xylitol as a sugar substitute, gum or health food concentrate. Children should not receive more than the recommended daily amount (there is no benefit to having more than the recommended amount of four to 20 grams).

Children are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities due to diet, carbohydrate consumption, sucrose consumption, salivary flow rate, and the difficulty of helping them to brush and floss their teeth effectively. Harmful oral bacteria feed on sugars and carbohydrates which produces acids.  When children eat sugary foods, these acids attack and destroy vulnerable tooth enamel. Xylitol helps to neutralize the acids, reduce enamel destruction, and therefore minimize the risk of cavities.  Xylitol also stimulates saliva production, which helps food particles, plaque and bacteria to be continually removed from the teeth.  When used in combination with fluoride, xylitol works to re-mineralize teeth and protect tooth enamel.

When to Provide Xylitol:

  • Xylitol gum is not suitable for very young children (pre-toddlers)
  • Toddlers can be given xylitol as a sugar substitute or as part of daily diet (in fruit and vegetables)
  • Older children can be given xylitol chewing gum

To discuss your child’s dental health care, please contact our office; we will book an appointment to meet with you and your child and to assess the need to build a preventative oral health strategy for your family.

Find out more:

Meadows Gate Dental clinic is located close to the Tri-Cities area and provides dental services to patients in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Haney and Pitt Meadows.  We specialize in family and childrens dentistry, contact us to book an appointment.

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