According to a report issued by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs, products such as chewing gum, lozenges and hard candy using the sweetener Xylitol are effective in preventing cavities when used in combination with other prophylactic methods. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables.

Included in the report were studies suggesting that patients with increased risk of cavities received an additional benefit when using Xylitol in conjunction with dental sealants, varnishes, and toothpastes containing fluoride. Patients who consume a healthy diet and those with access to fluoridated municipal water receive an even greater advantage.

Xylitol does not promote tooth decay because it does not break down when exposed to oral bacteria, allowing patients to enjoy candies or lozenges containing Xylitol after meals may continue to reduce cavities.

by Jennifer Schau DDS

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