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Once, I asked my dental hygienist for an easy way to help prevent plaque build up. She knew how infrequent of a flosser I was. Her reply really surprised me. “Chew gum,” she said.
Chew gum?! How could that possibly help?
It turns out that there is a special type of gum on the market that’s dentist recommended. She went on to tell me about Xlear Spry Xylitol Gum. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that comes with rather unexpected dental health benefits. After speaking with her, I went home and did a little bit of research.
Much to my surprise, there is a large body of literature and studies showing several different beneficial effects from chewing xylitol gum.
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, 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. Now you know how great xylitol is in general, how is Spry gum as a product?
Spry Xylitol Gum Review
Spry gum comes in a round tub containing 100 pieces. The gum itself is an off-while, narrow rectangle. The outer shell has a pretty similar texture to chiclets gum. The gum does look a little bit like Nicorette gum. It’s not an issue, just a funny similarity that I noticed.
Biting into Spry Xylitol Gum, the first thing i noticed was the sweetness. Xylitol is really sweet. It’s hard to believe that it is not actually sugar! Next came the flavor. Out of the flavor choices, I decided to test spearmint. Like most spearmint flavored products, the taste is not terribly strong. It’s still noticeable and present but it’s not harsh at all.
The sweetness and the texture of the gum lasted a long time. Unlike most chewing gum brands, this one does not dissolve quickly and holds its firmness for quite a while.
The primary drawback in this product is what it does not do. You cannot use Spry Xylitol gum as a replacement for other dental health habits. It is not an end all, be all. Daily flossing and brush are essential to preventing cavities and oral infections.
While xylitol will definitely help improve your dental health, think of the gum as a supplement to the core of your daily dental health care routine. Yes, you will see additional improvement if you start chewing xylitol gum, just don’t expect any miracles!
The other main problem I found with Spry’s gum was its flavor longevity. The mint flavor disappeared extremely quickly. I’m talking about within only a few minutes time. This means that a normal, non-xylitol containing gum might be a better choice is you’re concerned about bad breath. You may have to switch between the two of them.
Spry Gum Wrap Up
I was definitely surprised to find out about Spry Xylitol Gum, especially from my dental hygienist. I always thought the only reason to chew gum was to get rid of nasty breath. The inclusion of a single ingredient, xylitol, turns chewing gum into a way to keep your teeth clean.
Studies have shown that xylitol helps protect your teeth in several ways. It kills off harmful bacteria. It also increases salivation, leading to less of a chance that the germs will return and protecting your tooth enamel. Studies have also shown it can lead to faster tooth remineralization.
Spry Gum is a great choice for a xylitol gum. The flavor is pleasant and sweet. The gum itself lasts a long time and is a nice texture. The problem with the gum itself is that the flavor does not last very long. Still, the sweetness holds, and the benefits from xylitol outweigh the loss of taste.
Again, Spry Gum won’t replace good dental habits. Sadly, chewing gum is not an effective substitute for brushing or flossing.
Chewing xylitol gum will provide nothing but benefits. Add it to your arsenal of good health habits and you’ll have a cleaner smile than ever before.