Use Xylitol, the Sweetener That Prevents Tooth Decay

The following is an excerpt from Health & Healing, November 1998, Volume 8,
No. 11

   Sugar is the bane of dentistry because it is a favorite food of
Streptococcus mutans, bacteria that reside in the mouth and are the
principal cause of dental caries. These bacteria metabolize sugar in a
fermentation process, producing acids that eat through the enamel of teeth
and cause decay. S. mutans thrive in the low pH (high acid) conditions in
the mouth that inhibit other bacteria, easily adhering to tooth surfaces and
contributing to plaque buildup. The more sugar you eat and the more often
you eat it, the larger and more destructive the colonies of S. mutans in
your mouth.
   Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate derived from birch trees.
It looks like sugar and it tastes like sugar-but the similarities end there.
Unlike sugar, xylitol is slowly and only partially absorbed by the body,
making it an excellent sweetener for diabetics. A number of long-term
studies have also shown that xylitol administered on a regular basis reduces
the formation of new caries, halts and even reverses the progression of
early decay, and provides continued protection for months to years after
   Xylitol does this by inhibiting the growth of S. mutans, which is unable
to metabolize it for energy. Xylitol also raises the pH of the mouth, making
it less hospitable to S. mutans, and over time, these microorganisms are
crowded out by harmless bacteria. Xylitol also reduces periodontal disease.
In a 1996 studied carried out at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in
Dayton, Ohio; patients were given gum or small candies sweetened with
xylitol after meals and sugary snacks. After an average of 1.8 years,
had significantly fewer caries at the roots of the teeth and improved gum
   I recommend chewing xylitol gum or sucking on xylitol mints after meals
and sweet snacks. The brand we use at the Whitaker Wellness Institute is