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You may have heard about xylitol and its health benefits at some point but didn’t know what it was. It often is mentioned alongside fluoride in terms of preventing cavities, but is not nearly as well known. So, how does this substance compare to other popular ingredients in toothpastes and is it really as healthy for your teeth as some people say?
We have the answers concerning all the questions you may have about xylitol and how it is used, along with some tips on the best products containing xylitol and how they can work for you. We are hoping you can use this information to keep your teeth healthy and prevent cavities from forming so that your smile remains beautiful and white.
What is Xylitol?
It turns out that while xylitol may sound like a strange substance, it’s actually quite common and exists in many foods and natural items. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, or polyalcohol. The substance is found in the fibers in fruits and vegetables, as well as mushrooms and hardwoods. It’s also found in corn husks and corncobs. Our bodies even naturally produce 5 to 10 grams on a daily basis, a natural part of the metabolizing process in our digestive tracts.
It was first discovered by both German and French scientists in the late 1800s. Xylitol was used as a natural sweetener for people who have diabetes for many years in various countries before the practical dental uses were realized.
Finland was the first to research the dental health aspect of xylitol in the early 1970s. Their discoveries led to the creation of Xylitol-Jenkki, a chewing gum that uses xylitol as a sweetener, produced by Leaf in 1975. You can still purchase gums and candies that contain xylitol to this very day, as the constant exposure to the substance is seen as healthy for both gums and teeth.
This natural sugar alcohol has been found to be just as sweet as sugar, and has been used in cereal, beverages, baking, and eventually – toothpastes. The flavor has found to be much sweeter than other sugar substitutes. Although many associate sweetness with cavities, it turns out xylitol is incredibly useful in terms of dental health.
Why Use Xylitol?
The simple answer is that xylitol helps prevent cavities. When the Finnish were researching xylitol in the 1970s and producing the first xylitol chewing gum, scientists at Finland’s Turku University discovered that the polyalcohol could help prevent tooth decay with proper use.
This sparked more research on how xylitol can be used to help dental health. Eventually, 25 years of tests has shown that regular xylitol use decreases tooth decay in all age groups and all tooth decay risk levels. The substance slows bacteria growth inside the mouth, the same bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities. This occurs because bacteria cannot use xylitol as food, like with other sweeteners, such as sugar. Regular xylitol use makes it less likely that bad bacteria in the mouth will survive on the surface of your teeth. This means less acid build-up, less plaque, and less cavities. Cavities occur when bacteria feast on the sugars left on your teeth after eating. The bacteria produce acids when they metabolize the sugars, and that acid build-up eventually eats away at the protective enamel layer on our teeth. So, less bacteria, less acid, less cavities. Substituting sugar with xylitol will greatly decrease bacteria growth.
On a chemical level, bacteria cannot ferment xylitol because of its structure. While most carbohydrates have 6-carbon units, xylitol contains only 5 carbons in its structure. Bacteria’s inability to metabolize the sugar alcohol leads to an eventual decrease in bacteria which then results in a healthier mouth and teeth.
A Finnish study shows that these anti-microbial effects can be passed on from mother to baby, decreasing the amount of bacteria passed on to the child and therefore decreasing their eventual risk of tooth decay and cavities. So there are even benefits of chewing and brushing with xylitol while pregnant – the bacteria is something that is passed along from mother to child.
Besides these effects on bacteria in the mouth, xylitol also helps carry calcium, which is essential for teeth remineralization. Both of these factors – the anti-microbial uses and pro-calcium nature – make xylitol wonderful for overall oral health.
Xylitol is often compared to fluoride, which is also heralded as important for oral health. However, fluoride is not capable of preventing cavities because it does nothing to stop the actual bacteria that is responsible for wearing away at tooth enamel. Fluoride does work to repair teeth, but xylitol is considered by many to be far more useful thanks to its anti-bacterial uses. Prevention is better than dealing with the destructive aftermath. Since many believe high levels of fluoride can be unhealthy for children, some experts see xylitol as a better alternative.
Together, they are incredibly beneficial for your teeth, seeing as how one prevents decay and the other repairs decay. Xylitol has been officially endorsed by popular dental associations in many different countries, such as Norway, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, and more.
Experts suggest that for optimum oral health benefits, it’s best to use a product containing xylitol at least 3 times a day. The higher the concentration of xylitol, the better. This means using chewing gum, candies, or toothpaste. The substance is safe for daily use and comes in so many different forms that it’s incredibly convenient to incorporate into your daily routine.
Top Xylitol Products
There are many kinds of products that contain xylitol. We have conducted research on the many brands that use xylitol in their toothpaste, and have collected the toothpastes that contain the highest concentrations of the substance and have the best consumer reviews. Some products say they contain xylitol, but it’s buried far down on the ingredients list. This is not so with the toothpastes that we have compiled for you. We hope this guides you to purchasing the best toothpaste for promoting your personal oral health, with the most amount of xylitol for your dental health needs.
Squigle’s Enamel Saver toothpaste provides users with a double whammy of xylitol and fluoride for cavity prevention and enamel repair. We’ve listed Squigle’s product first because their toothpaste contains the highest concentration of xylitol available out there, this product containing 36% US birch xylitol. If you want the most xylitol you can get, then this is the toothpaste you want to look for.
Aside from cavity prevention and repair, Squigle’s Enamel Saver also help soothe a sensitive mouth and prevent painful canker sores from forming. This is possible because their toothpaste has no harsh detergents in their ingredients. For example, this toothpaste does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is known to sometimes be an irritant.
There are also no bleaches in this product either, such as calcium peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. If you don’t like intense flavors in your toothpaste, then there’s none of that here either. Thanks to the presence of xylitol and fluoride and lack of presence of bleaches and detergents, Squigle’s Enamel Saver is one of the best toothpastes for both cavities and oral sensitivity.
When it comes to the amount of xylitol, Epic’s toothpaste is second best. Their toothpaste contains 31% xylitol, the next best amount outside of Squigle. There’s no sodium lauryl sulfate in this product either, making this an excellent toothpaste for those who suffer from sensitive teeth but wish to prevent tooth decay and plaque build-up. This toothpaste also has a delicious spearmint flavor alongside the natural sweetening of xylitol.
Regular use of this toothpaste attributes to teeth remineralization as well, and it is proven to be excellent for healthy teeth. The double-hitter presence of both fluoride and xylitol is a winning combo, and they do also have Fluoride-free products as well if that’s what you’re looking for.
Epic’s Xylitol toothpaste tastes great and will keep your teeth white and healthy, so definitely give it a try if you’re looking for a good xylitol toothpaste.
Hello’s toothpaste products contain both xylitol and stevia, so on top of the antibacterial properties of xylitol, you are also receiving the anti-inflammatory soothing provided by the ingredient stevia. Stevia is another natural sweetener and sugar substitute, very similar to xylitol, that is derived from a plant.
Their toothpastes contain no other artificial sweeteners or dyes, so you can have a natural product that helps whiten your teeth and tastes sweet too. All of their products are vegan and Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty-Free, so you can have a clean conscience on top of clean teeth.
Even the box it comes in is made from 100% recyclable paper. The toothpaste also contains fluoride as well as xylitol, for that double dose of prevention and repair. However, because it contains no harsh detergents, there is no foaming when you brush your teeth.
It is healthier, though it may feel different from other toothpastes. Rest assured though that while it may not foam up like soap, it is doing an excellent job at cleaning your teeth.
Dr. Sharp’s natural toothpaste is an excellent purchase for fighting cavities and keeping your breath fresh. Aside from the sweet and healthy xylitol ingredient, this toothpaste’s anti-oxidant green tea and fresh mint formula tastes fantastic and kills bacteria.
It’s also vegan and fluoride-free, so a great natural, cruelty-free product that may be better suited for you than the other toothpastes if you’re looking to avoid fluoride but still want the benefits of xylitol.
Another upside of this product is that it has a very concentrated formula, so that you don’t need to use much to get the benefits.
This tube is bound to last you for a while, while tasting great and keeping your teeth healthy. So don’t be alarmed if the toothpaste tube seems small to you: this product packs a lot into a tiny dollop. The green tea extract and fresh mint taste also makes the brushing experience quite pleasant.
Xlear Spry Dental Defense toothpaste is another refreshing and health-boosting product that contains xylitol. Although it doesn’t contain the most xylitol out of all the toothpastes we’ve mentioned, it does contain 25% of the sweetening polyalcohol. It does not contain any sugars or fluoride, and comes highly recommended by dentists.
Thanks to the xylitol and other ingredients, this toothpaste has a nice cooling effect with a taste of natural mint. You’ll feel great after using this product, when your teeth are shiny white and cavity free.
Xlear is very dedicated to xylitol in all their products. They recognize the extreme benefits of the natural substance and use it in a variety of different items to promote health in their consumers. They make an award-winning nasal spray, as well as xylitol crystals for cooking, and candies. It only makes sense that they also produce a healthy xylitol toothpaste
Xylitol Toothpaste Wrap Up
These xylitol products are dentist-approved and guaranteed to help prevent bacteria growth and the cavities that result. If you want even more xylitol throughout the day after reading about the benefits, try looking for gum and candies containing this sugar alcohol. Tons of companies recognize the natural health benefits of xylitol and include it in their products.
While perusing for xylitol products in the store, make sure xylitol is one of the first ingredients listed. The earlier the ingredient is on the list, the higher the concentration in the formula. Also, be sure that there aren’t other sugars included in the ingredients, because that would defeat the purpose of xylitol to begin with.
Remember, sugar equals cavities, so it’s best to avoid it! Xylitol is there to provide that natural sweetened taste while keeping your teeth safe from acids produced by bacteria munching on those sugars left behind by food.