Foods for Dental Health: Xylitol

Today we continue our Artistic Touch Dentistry series on foods that boost dental health. We discussed the acid neutralizing properties of cheese and yogurt, and today we turn to a surprising food source: artificial sweeteners.

You won’t hear many positive health claims surrounding artificial sweeteners, but when it comes to dental health, there’s one exception: Xylitol. This sugar replacement, found in many sugar-free gums and mints, is helpful because it allows for sweet flavor in your foods but deprives the harmful bacteria in plaque from metabolizing sugar. When sugar is used to sweeten foods, bacteria generate harmful acids that degrade tooth enamel. While the sucrose in sugar feeds bacteria, Xylitol provides them with no nutrition and thereby protect your teeth. As an added bonus, chewing gum removes plaque and bacteria from teeth mechanically.

While most of the foods in the series will be naturally occurring products, Xylitol is one exception. By replacing sugar and sugar’s harmful effects, Xylitol is one artificial sweetener approved by us to protect your teeth and improve your dental health!