At St. Mary’s Dental in Mechanicsville MD, our patients often ask if chewing xylitol gum is an effective substitute for tooth brushing and regular exams at the dentist office.
Before answering that question, a few words about xylitol:
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that was first discovered in birch tree bark but is also found in many fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other sweeteners (natural or synthetic), xylitol is actually helpful for your teeth.
Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that xylitol impedes the growth of the bacteria that initiates tooth decay. It also helps alleviate plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.
Xylitol has other benefits, as well. Because it is low on the glycemic index, many of our patients with diabetes enjoy it as a healthy alternative to sugar. For patients living with frequent dry mouth, we recommend xylitol gum or mints to stimulate saliva production while helping to prevent tooth decay.
Now, back to the golden question. Is xylitol gum as effective as brushing your teeth and seeing your family dentist regularly? Absolutely not! If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, chewing xylitol gum for five or ten minutes is probably a good idea. However, you should still brush your teeth thoroughly (with a soft brush) after meals and get twice-yearly exams and dental cleanings.
At St. Mary’s Dental, our goal is to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life by preventing dental problems before they start. If you postpone dental visits until you feel pain, you risk losing teeth and most certainly will require more extensive treatment than if the issue was caught earlier.
Is it time for a dental exam? Call us at 301-884-3248 to book an appointment. Our personal team is waiting to take care of all your dental needs.