Welcome to xylitol!
If you’re here it’s likely that Shirley recommended you use xylitol for one of four reasons: dental decay, you have are going to have braces, you are a new parent or because you have periodontal disease.
The common thread between all of these conditions is dental biofilm. The clump of bacteria that accumulates on your teeth sometimes called plaque. Dental biofilm is soft. For some people it’s easy to remove with a toothbrush and floss or other method to clean between the teeth. You may have a virulent form of early biofilm colonizers.
Xylitol is a preferred food source for the early colonizers, however they perish from malnutrition when they partake. They cannot metabolize the sugar for energy and since they’re no longer hungry they just die.
Three main things happen with this decrease in bacteria, the sticky coating that they produce to protect themselves and their buddies stops being produced. So all the bacteria are now vulnerable, they can’t join into a save dome covered city of germs. The second benefit is that the early colonizers are also the bacteria that make the most acid, the kind of acid that melts your teeth.
So you see xylitol is awesome. For a lot more information on xylitol go to www.xylitol.org.
How should you use xylitol?
The best way is to give the bacteria a taste of xylitol five times a day. How do you do that?
Best practice and minimum inhibitory concentration (mic) combine in the recommendations for using xylitol. The mic for xylitol is between six and ten grams per day. Most xylitol products are a little over one gram per serving, a serving meaning two pieces of gum or mints at a time. So the phrase Strive for Five was born to illustrate that dosage. I created the table below to show how this dosage may be achieved.
- 1 serving = xylitol toothpaste and mouthwash
- 1 serving = two pieces of gum on the way to work/school
- 1 serving = two mints/candies after lunch
- 1 serving = two pieces of gum after dinner
- 1 serving = xylitol toothpaste and mouthwash before bed
- 5 servings in the day
1 teaspoon of xylitol is 4 grams however if you use it in a cup of tea, for instance, and the tea is consumed in a short period of time, less than 20 minutes, that’s one of the five applications. It’s really important to spread out the applications through the day.
How to find xylitol products
Xylitol is so popular right now that many companies are adding xylitol to anything. Many gums list xylitol as an ingredient but it’s often very far down the list. You’ll need to find a xylitol gum that has xylitol as one of the first three ingredients, preferably the first one. Any further down the line and it’s going to be hard to reach the mic.
Using the internet is a pretty easy way to find xylitol products with high concentrations. Xylitol.org is a good resource and offers guidelines and a grid of products.
Please feel free to share this page with your friends.
Shirley probably also asked if anyone else in the family had cavities, that’s because the bacteria in the biofilm that causes cavities can be spread throughout the family. Sometimes it’s good to get the whole family on xylitol wagon. The long term studies have proven that using xylitol for about one year, can protect the teeth from decay for over five years even if you stop using the sugar. So, spread it around, use it all the time.
Drawbacks, you wonder?
There are two things to think about with respect to xylitol and negative outcomes. The first is that xylitol acts as a fiber in your gut. That means you may get some gurgling, you may get some soft stools and you may want to cut back on xylitol for a week. Start with a smaller amount per day and work your way up to the Strive for Five. You’ll get used to it.
The second thing is that some breeds of dogs are very sensitive to xylitol. So keep it high, keep it with your chocolate, raisins, and other people friendly/dog not-friendly foods.
Send me an email if you have more questions.