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Xylitol Gum

03 Mar 2014

Xylitol Gum: Great for Kids and New Moms!

Dr. Anderson and I recently received a question from a concerned mother about gum containing Xylitol. Despite frequent brushing and flossing her son was still having trouble controlling his cavities! She heard that chewing Xylitol gum may be helpful and wanted to learn more.

Well, its true: now fighting cavities can be as easy as chewing gum. The American Dental Association has even added its seal to the labels of certain gums. The Ancient Greeks chewed on sap from the mastic tree, and Native Americans from New England down to the Mayan Empire also chewed on tree sap, eventually introducing chewing gum to the European settlers they met. Many people think of chewing gum as a type of candy, and as such, something that is terrible for our teeth. However, chewing sugarless gum will increase the production of saliva by 10 times your normal rate. This can be especially helpful after sugary meals to reverse drops in your oral pH and to keep bacteria in check. The acids produced by bacteria can cause the enamel of the tooth to break down, paving the way for decay, cavities, and tooth loss. However, if you really want to hit plaque where it hurts, you want to chew Xylitol gum.

What is Xylitol?
Xylitol, which is also called birch sugar since it can be made from birch wood chips, is a normal intermediate in human metabolism. Unfortunately for acid producing bacteria, it is not part of their normal metabolism and it slows down their growth; it also gets in the way of bad bacteria sticking to your teeth in the first place.

Xylitol for New Moms
One of the really cool benefits of chewing xylitol gum is that it reduces the risk of transmission of cavity making bacteria from Moms to their children (yes smarts and good looks aren’t the only things kids get from their moms, but we’ll talk more about this in future posts). Children of mothers who chewed Xylitol gum as directed starting 3 months after child birth and continued until their children had all their baby teeth at the age of 2 had a dramatically lower risk for cavities (up to 70% less!). So new moms: start chewing Xylitol gum! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the benefits of xylitol on the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs.

A Great Option For Other Adults as Well!

The latest dental research has begun to show other expanded Xylitol benefits. Xylitol provides additional protection that enhances all existing prevention
methods. This xylitol effect is long-lasting and possibly permanent. Low decay rates persist even years after the trials have been completed. A study in the June 2013 Journal of Dental Research shows the clinical effectiveness of xylitol. The secondary analysis on the data generated from the Xylitol for Adult Caries Trial (X-ACT) indicated a 40 percent reduction in root cavities in people who used Xylitol lozenges daily.

So here is a guide for you to improve your dental wellness with Xylitol:

Directions for Use
  • Chew between 6-10g of xylitol per day in order to be effective against
  • bacteria. This usually means you will need more than one piece and is easiest if
  • you do it right after meals.
  • Chew the gum for a minimum of 5 minutes. If you chew at least 2 grams
  • worth of xylitol after all three meals you’ll easily hit your goal.
  • Keep your gum away from your dog. Xylitol is toxic to dogs.
  • Too much xylitol can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, so stick to the
  • formula and don’t go way overboard.
  • If you have TMJ problems try using Xylitol mints instead
Choosing a Xylitol Gum
Your best option is to choose a gum containing only xylitol sugars. Although gums containing sorbitol are still considered “sugarfree,” bacteria can use sorbitol to make acids, just in very small amounts. Also consumption of excess sugar alcohols (over 14 grams) can cause indigestion. If you are chewing a sugarfree gum that contains xylitol with other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol, you may end up consuming an excessive total amount of sugar alcohols in your attempt to reach your target dosage of xylitol and earn yourself an upset stomach. Whichever gum you choose, remember to chew 6-10 grams of xylitol per day and as a rule keep the total sugar alcohols consumed under 14 grams to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort. To help you stay on track, here is a list of brands of xylitol gums and their ingredients. I personally recommend Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Sugar Free They are the easiest to find in grocery stores and they only contain Xylitol.

Spry Gum
Xylitol Content: .72 grams per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol, gum base, natural flavor (peppermint oil), vegetable glycerin, gum arabic, soy lecithin, beeswax

Epic Gum
Xylitol Content: 1.06 grams per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol, gum base, natural flavors, lecithin, gum arabic, titanium dioxide, carnauba wax

Miradent Gum
Xylitol Content: .72 grams per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol, gum base, natural & artificial flavors, Glycerin, gum arabic, Soy Lecithin, and Beeswax

XyliChew Gum
Xylitol Content: .5 grams per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol, gum base, natural flavors, arabic gum, lecithin, glycerine, beeswax, carnauba wax

Peelu Xylitol Gum
Xylitol Content: Unknown (likely .7 grams per piece)
Ingredients: Gum base (contains soy), xylitol, calcium stearate, natural peppermint flavor, gum arabic, peelu extract, rebiana (stevia extract), carnauba wax

Xyloburst
Xylitol Content: 1 gram per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol, gum base, natural flavors, vegetable glycerin, gum arabic, soy lecithin and beeswax

Trident & Trident Fusion with Xylitol
Xylitol Content: .17 grams per piece
Ingredients: Sorbitol, Maltitol, Gum Base, Mannitol, Xylitol, Natural and Artificial Flavoring, Less than 2% of: Acacia, Acesulfame Potassium, BHT (to Maintain Freshness)Blue 1 Lake, Candelilla Wax, Glycerin, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5 Lake

Trident Xtra Care
Xylitol Content: .14 grams per piece; also contains 9.4 mg Casein Phosphopeptide-Amorphous Calcium Phosphate
Ingredients: Sorbitol, Gum Base, Xylitol, Glycerin, Natural And Artificial Flavoring, Mannitol; Less Than 2% Of: Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, BHT (To Maintain Freshness), Blue 1 Lake, Calcium Casein Peptone-Calcium Phosphate (Lactose-Free Milk Derivative), Soy Lecithin, Titanium Dioxide (Color) And Yellow 5 Lake. Contains A Milk Derived Ingredient

Xylimax
Xylitol Content: .7 grams per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol (66% of weight), Gum Base, Calcium, Carbonate, Natural Flavors (Spearmint, Menthol), Gum Arabic, Glyserol, Lecithin (Rapeseed), Beeswax, Shellac

Xponent
Xylitol Content: .72 grams per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol, gum base, gum arabic, natural flavors, lecithin, glycerol, malic acid, glazing agent (beeswax)

Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Sugarfree
Xylitol Content: 1.1 grams per cube
Ingredients: Xylitol, Gum Base, Mannitol, Maltitol Syrup, Contains 2% or Less of: Natural and Artificial Flavor, Maltodextrin, Malic Acid, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Color (Red 40 Lake, Red 40, Blue 1), Aspartame, Modified Food Starch, Acesulfame Potassium, Gum Acacia, BHT (to Maintain Freshness), Neotame

Ricochet Gum
Xylitol Content: .72 grams per piece
Ingredients: Xylitol, gumbase, natural spearmint oil, gum arabic, lecithin, citric acid, powder of conch, spinach powder

B-Fresh Gum
Xylitol Content: .85 grams per piece
Ingredients: xylitol, gum base, natural spearmint flavor, vitamin B12, gum arabic, carnuba wax, calcium citrate, calcium gluconate

Zellies Xylitol Gum
Xylitol Content: 1 gram per piece
Ingredients: xylitol, Gum Base, Natural Flavors, Lecithin, Gum Arabic, Titanium Dioxide, Carnauba Wax


Sources:
(1) Peldyak J, Maekinen KK; "Xylitol for Caries Prevention". J Dent Hygiene, Fall
2002; 76(4):276-85.
(2) Kandelman D, Gagnon G; "A 24 month clinical study of the incidence and
progression of dental caries in relation to consumption of chewing-gum containing
xylitol in school preventive programs". 1990, J Dent Res, 69:1771-1775.
(3) Maekinen KK, Bennett CA, Hujoel PP, Isokangas PJ, Isotupa KP, Pape HR, et
al.; "Xylitol chewing gums and caries rates: A 40-month Cohort Study". 1995 J Dent
Res, 74:(12), 1904-1913.
(4) Maekinen KK, et al; "Stabilization of rampant caries: polyol gums and arrest of
dentine caries in two long-term cohort studies in young subjects". 1995, Int Dent J
45(1):93-107.
(5) Cronin M, Gordon J, Reardon R & Balbo F; "Three clinical trials comparing
xylitol- and sorbitol-containing chewing gums for their effect on supragingival
plaque accumulation". 1994, J Clin Dent 5(4):106-109