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Currently, I live in Seattle, WA. When browsing gum at my local convenience store, I several packages of “Xylitol gum” at the front counter. Having never seen the product back east where I grew up, I did some research.
It turns out that Xylitol gum is not a unique product to that part of the country but a viable supplement to improving your dental health everywhere. It’s easily available over the internet and in a few retailers as well. How does chewing a specific type of gum improve one’s dental health? Which brands are the best?
In order to consider which gum to choose, one needs to understand what Xylitol even is and how simply chewing gum could reduce cavities.
Xylitol and Dental Health
Xylitol is an all-natural, sugar free sweetener. Technically, it’s a “sugar alcohol” but don’t worry about the alcohol part. It just means that xylitol is a hybrid of a sugar and an alcohol molecule. It’s not going to get you drunk or anything.
The dental benefits of Xylitol are both numerous and well studied. First of all, Xylitol disrupts bacteria’s cellular processes.
The cavity-causing beasties in your mouth need sugar to live. Xylitol is not a sugar but the bacteria eat it anyways. This causes interference in the bacteria’s cell activities, causing them to die off. So, with less of these beasties in your mouth, your teeth have the opportunity to regenerate and get clean again.
There is another effect from chewing xylitol gum. Xylitol increases salivation. While not too much to be uncomfortable, it is still enough to improve one’s dental health. Increased salivation does two great things for your teeth.
First of all, salivation neutralizes the pH in your mouth. A more neutral pH means both less bacteria and less wear from acidity on the enamel.
Second, saliva contains both calcium and phosphate. This means your tooth enamel will regenerate faster from the extra beneficial minerals present.
So, xylitol not only functions as a great sugar free sweetener but it brings definite improvements to dental health. Is it effective, however, in the form of a chewing gum?
The verdict? Yes, chewing xylitol containing gum can definitely improve dental health. This has been proven through a few studies.
One study involved participants chewing xylitol gum for two three week periods. The study found up to a whopping 75% reduction in harmful bacteria. Crazy! Just chewing gum can do so much good for one’s teeth.
Another meta analysis (survey of studies) found that replacement of sugar with xylitol in one’s diet will definitely reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. They looked at other studies over a range of 30 years to come to their conclusion.
Xylitol is a scientifically proven substance for reducing plaque, improving enamel recovery and reducing acidity in the mouth. You should know, however, of some other health benefits of xylitol first before looking for the best xylitol gum on the market.
Other Health Benefits of Xylitol
Xylitol may help fight off other infectious bacteria besides the ones that cause dental problems. For example, one study showed that xylitol gum may reduce the occurrence of ear infections in children by as much as 40%.
Another study involving rats showed some promise for general bone health as well. Chewing or ingesting xylitol may help increase bone density and calcium generation throughout the whole body.
It’s important to know how a dental health care product can help other areas of bodily health as well. Xylitol is proven as a dental aid but it may provide even more benefits for the rest of our bodies.
Remember, xylitol does not replace regular brushing and flossing for dental care. It is a strong complement to these vital daily regimens. Adding xylitol to your routine, however, will only improve your dental health and strengthen your teeth.
Now that you know the numerous, proven perks of chewing xylitol gum, which brand is the best on the market? I did some research (including a trip to my local supermarket) and found what I think to be the top brands of Xylitol gum.
The Best Xylitol Gum
Here is what I found to be the top five (well, four for gums, one for mint) brands for xylitol gum. I chose them based on several factors including taste, flavor longevity and ingredients.
I chose Spry Xlear Gum as the best for a few reasons. First of all, it is manufactured by Xlear, a dental company who specializes in xylitol dental products including toothpaste. They have the expertise to manufacture an effective xylitol gum. Xlear’s gum has the most xylitol per piece than any other brand I could find on the market.
Xylitol is the sole sweetener in Spry’s gum. Some other brands might include other sweeteners.
Spry’s Xylitol Gum tastes great, akin to a piece of Juicy Fruit. It comes in cinnamon, “fresh fruit,” peppermint, spearmint and green tea. I tried all of five of their flavors. The peppermint flavors is the best in my opinion. It’s essential oil based so it is both natural tasting and longer lasting than some of the other flavors.
The only drawback I could find from Spry was that it lost its flavor a bit faster than the other brands. Still, it retains its flavor surprisingly well for a non-aspartame sweetened gum.
This gum came as a close second to Spry. It is also manufactured by a dental health company with a history of excellent xylitol based products. Epic Dental’s gum contains a high amount of xylitol (1.06 grams per piece).
I thought this gum was not as good as Spry’s gum due to the taste and flavor loss. The flavor was much more subdued and lasted a really short amount of time. I think the gum lost its taste after only one or two minutes.
All four of their flavors suffered from the same problem. Even the cinnamon flavor didn’t last very long. Xlear’s cinnamon on the other hand, was incredibly strong, almost like a Red Hot candy.
I will admit I chose Lotte Xylitol Gum as #3 due to a bit of personal bias; this is the gum I chew on a daily basis. Still, it’s an excellent choice for a xylitol gum. Again, I mainly chose this gum due to its high xylitol content. Each piece is made up of 67% pure xylitol.
There are a lot of interesting flavors. The one I usually chew, and the one in the link above is called “applemint.” Surprisingly, the apple taste lasts longer and is stronger than the mint taste. They have some other interesting flavors as well including strawberry, blueberry and “lime mint.” I found it to be the sweetest of the five products listed here.
Just like Epic Dental’s gym, Lotte’s Xylitol Gum suffers from a quick loss of flavor. While very sweet at first, this wonderful sweetness goes away rather quickly.
The other thing that fades away quickly is the texture of the gum. While the other gums on this list retain their solid texture, Lotte’s gum feels like it breaks down rather quickly. It gets pretty soft after chewing for a while.
While all five products on this list do not contain aspartame, PUR’s gum is the most natural and basic of any of the products on this list. They went a long way to ensure the product is safe and healthy. This is a great gum if you are particularly concerned about the ingredients list.
It is nut, soy and GMO free. It’s vegan, all natural and swiss manufactured. The gum contains the smallest list of ingredients as well. The only non naturally sourced ingredient on the list is the simple and safe tocopherol preservative.
It also comes in the biggest flavor variety of the gums. You can choose between cinnamon, “coolmint,” wintergreen, spearmint, peppermint and “pomegranate mint.” None of the flavors stood out to me; they were all very low key and not as prominent as they should have been.
The biggest downside to the gum is its fragility in storage. The gum crushes really easily and one of my packages even came with some pancaked pieces! I was not the only consumer to have this problem either.
You might ask “Why would is there a mint on a list of best types of chewing gum?” Well, I included it because it was one of the few xylitol mints I could find on the market. Plus, there might be some people out there who don’t like or don’t want to chew gum.
XyloBurst mints still give the user the exact same benefits as xylitol gum. Each mint contains about 0.5 grams of xylitol. They come in four flavors. You can choose from berry, lemon, cinnamon and peppermint. I was particularly fond of the lemon ones. They are really sour but still pleasant.
An upside to these mints over any of the gums on the list is that the flavor lasts longer. The flavor stayed the same right up until they completely dissolved. The downside is that overall, the mint itself does not last as long as a piece of gum does.
Best Xylitol Gum Wrap Up
Xylitol gum (and mints too) are a must for anyone trying to improve their dental health. The substance has a proven ability to fight plaque, reduce cavities and prevent bad bacteria from forming in the mouth.
Xylitol also has the potential to improve other areas of your health as well. It may lead to greater bone health, digestive health, and it might reduce the chance to get certain infections.
Chewing xylitol gum is an easy, effortless way to keep your teeth clean and healthy. After seeing how common the product is over here in the west, I discovered it is for a good reason. Do the research and you too will discover the impact xylitol can have on dental health.