Making smart choices with your oral health in mind is extremely important, not only for the sake of your teeth, but your overall health as well. There are direct links between the health of your teeth and gums and the rest of your body. Furthermore, your teeth are your sole form of chewing throughout your life, and are one of the first things someone will notice about you when you smile.

Since teeth have such an important job, everyone should be doing all they can to protect their teeth and gums. Of course, that begins with brushing and flossing twice per day, as suggested by the American Dental Association. However, some choose to take it a step further.

One of the biggest concerns to dental health is sugar intake. Sugar is widely known to exacerbate tooth decay and cause a slew of dental issues. It is unrealistic to think we can all avoid sugar all the time, so what is there to be done? Some are turning to sugar alternatives like xylitol to keep up their oral health.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar. It is found in fruits and vegetables but usually in very small amounts.[1] The kind that you will see more often is processed from trees or from plant fibers.[1] You will often find xylitol in chewing gums, diabetic-friendly foods and some sugar-free candy.

Here are the main pros and cons of consuming xylitol [1,2]:

Xylitol Pros

  • Reduces bacteria associated with tooth decay
  • Looks and tastes like traditional sugar
  • Has 40 percent fewer calories than the same amount of sugar
  • Does not spike glucose levels
  • Decreases acidity and enhances mineral absorption for strong tooth enamel
  • Encourages saliva flow to prevent dry mouth

Xylitol Cons

  • Can cause stomach discomfort
  • Excessive consumption can cause diarrhea

Xylitol May Be a Healthy Alternative to Sugar With Powerful Dental Benefits

Reducing your chances of dental issues should be high on your list of health goals. Avoiding sugar is just one more way to protect your teeth and overall health. Xylitol could be a healthy and tasty alternative to traditional sugar, and it may even help make your teeth stronger.

Referenced Sources
[1] Healthline
[2] LiveStrong