Whether it is in your new favorite toothpaste or in a new xylitol gum, this remarkable ingredient is one of the best alternatives to sugar currently on the market. Xylitol, like stevia, is a naturally derived sweetener that can be used in things like gums, toothpaste, mints, sweets, and beverages. It gets rid of the harshness of sugar without the taste that you have come to love and enjoy.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol which is derived from both fruits and vegetables. Our bodies also naturally produce xylitol during carbohydrate metabolism. On average, adults produce about 15 grams of naturally occurring xylitol a day. The reason it is considered a sugar alcohol is that its chemical makeup resembled both sugar as well as alcohol. You get the same taste like sugar but with roughly 40 percent fewer calories and none of the harmful effects that come with regular sugar consumption. This makes xylitol a healthy option for diabetics who have to watch their sugar intake.
Xylitol - Toothpaste and Chewing Gum
For many years, most sugar-free gums either contained a chemical known as aspartame or another sweetener known as sucralose. Unfortunately, both of these artificial sweeteners are harmful to the body and can cause a myriad of side effects like anxiety, weight gain, heart palpitations, and dizziness. Many people who often feel unwell don't understand that there is a direct link between their current state of health and the artificial sweeteners that they're consuming on a routine basis.
For this reason, xylitol gum has become a new popular favorite among those who want a healthier option without going to a sugar-laden gum that's awful for their teeth. While xylitol tastes like sugar, it is not harmful to the teeth like sugar would be. The many xylitol gum ingredients are relatively healthy for you and your smile, with ingredients like peppermint oil, gum base, and natural flavoring.
In fact, if you have a sensitivity to aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, it's time to give this amazing ingredient a try for yourself. Many toothpaste companies are adding the ingredient to their products because of the xylitol benefits that are so readily apparent. The ingredient adds a deliciously sweet taste to most kinds of toothpaste without worrying that you're brushing with sugar or another harmful chemical. Not only does the ingredient taste great, but studies have shown that xylitol can help to harden enamel.
Where Else Can it Be Found?
Other than there being a range of xylitol gum products on the market, the ingredient can be found in a range of other items. Some people like to bake with xylitol, though it is often recommended for lighter foods like cupcakes and cakes rather than pies and tarts. Xylitol helps to cut down on the number of calories in a specific product, making it more appealing to those who like to watch their weight or who are on a diet. You can also find xylitol in mints and some beverages, though not a lot of companies have tried switching over to this ingredient. While you can find xylitol free gum on the market, the ingredient has become a trademark for those who want a better alternative to sugar.
Is Xylitol Good for Your Teeth?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is completely safe to use on your teeth regularly. Unlike sugar, xylitol does not break down tooth enamel or act as fodder for hungry bacteria in the mouth. In fact, bacteria will not touch xylitol, so you can feel confident knowing that it will not contribute to dental decay.
Due to the fact that the ingredient is used in many American Dental Association approved toothpastes, you can feel comfortable using the product and knowing that it is benefiting your teeth. This ingredient is known as non-fermentable, which means that it will not feed the bacteria in the mouth. If you're sensitive to artificial sweeteners, xylitol is the better option for you since it is naturally occurring. Certain studies have shown that xylitol actually helps to re-harden the enamel on teeth.
How Does Xylitol Work?
Xylitol is actually a type of carbohydrate, but because it is a sugar alcohol, this has absolutely no impact on blood sugar levels or calories. Xylitol has roughly 40 percent fewer calories per teaspoon than sugar, making it a healthier alternative for those who want to lose weight or watch the amount of sugar they are consuming. Only about 50 percent of the xylitol you consume is actually absorbed into the body, so it is a wonderful option for diabetics who absolutely have to watch blood sugar levels and spikes.
Benefits of Xylitol
Whether you're chewing on some xylitol gum because of how good it tastes or just want to switch to a healthier sweetener, there are tons of benefits to choosing this particular ingredient over many others.
Helps to fight tooth decay due to being non-fermentable
Ideal for diabetics watching blood sugar levels
Tastes like sugar without the weird diet aftertaste of other sweeteners
Great in lots of different products as well as baking
Has been shown to improve metabolic syndrome
Inhibits the growth of S. pneumoniae, which is a major cause of ear infections and sinusitis
- Has been shown to remineralize tooth enamel, which can also help in the remineralization of bones
Xylitol Side Effects
When consumed in large quantities, xylitol can act as a laxative. When consumed too regularly, this laxative effect can lead to dizziness and dehydration. Many people have also reported that consuming xylitol caused an increase in gas and gastrointestinal disturbances. While xylitol is incredibly safe to use and consume, it is important to do so in moderation as you would any other type of sweetener, including sugar. If you have found xylitol to cause problems in the past, reduce the amount that you consume and see if this helps to alleviate the issue.
Xylitol is currently being used in thousands of different products in place of nasty sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. While companies are still slow in making the change over to more natural sweeteners, it's a good idea to look out for this ingredient when buying foods, gums, mints and toothpaste products. The benefits of switching to a more natural sweetener option far outweigh the few side effects that have occurred to some customers.
You can also ask your dentist about what they feel about the additive since it is used in a wide range of dental products because of its cavity-fighting and enamel-hardening abilities. Despite being incredibly delicious, it can help to restore enamel, strengthen bones and freshen your breath without the nasty side effects of some of those other artificial sweeteners out on the market.