The Reverie

3 Reasons Xylitol Is Good For Your Teeth (and How to Use It)

You’ve been told to stay away from sweets to protect your pearly whites. But this natural sweetener prevents cavities, remineralizes your teeth, and regulates your oral pH.
3 Reasons Xylitol Is Good For Your Teeth (and How to Use It)

Conventional wisdom says sweet stuff is bad for your teeth—and that’s definitely true when it comes to the sugar in candy and soda. But what if we told you there’s an ingredient that’s (almost) as sweet as sugar that can help prevent cavities, remineralize your teeth, and regulate your oral microbiome?

We’re talking about xylitol: a natural sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables. The phrase “sugar alcohol” is a bit misleading since xylitol is neither sugar nor alcohol. Rather, it’s a compound that combines the traits of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules.

Xylitol looks and tastes like table sugar, but has 40% fewer calories and doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels. This makes it ideal for sugar-free gums, candies, and mints. But xylitol is even more ideal for protecting your pearly whites.

Keep reading to learn three reasons xylitol is good for your teeth and how to incorporate it into your routine.

1. Xylitol Prevents Cavities

Xylitol significantly reduces the risk of cavities, according to a 2017 review published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine. That’s mainly because xylitol reduces the levels of mutans streptococci (MS) in your mouth—the primary bacteria that causes dental caries.

The researchers noted four distinct ways xylitol reduces MS in plaque and saliva:

  1. The MS in plaque can’t metabolize xylitol.
  2. Xylitol is incorporated into the cells of MS as xylitol-5-phosphate, which inhibits acid production.
  3. When exposed to xylitol, MS develops resistance to xylitol. These resistant strains are less toxic in your mouth.
  4. Xylitol increases the concentrations of amino acids in plaque, which neutralizes plaque acids.

2. Xylitol Promotes Tooth Remineralization

Xylitol has been shown to enhance the process of remineralization, where minerals such as calcium and phosphate are deposited back into the tooth enamel. This reinforces your teeth and helps reverse the early stages of tooth decay.

Xylitol promotes remineralization by increasing the flow of saliva throughout your mouth, which is rich in calcium and phosphate.

“The stimulated saliva remineralizes enamel crystals damaged by initial caries attack more effectively than unstimulated saliva because it has a higher concentration of ions that make up the lattice structure of hydroxyapatite,” note researchers in a 2014 study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dentistry.

Remineralization is normally considered to be a slow process. However, the study found that consistent xylitol use resulted in significant remineralization in just three weeks.

In addition to remineralizing your teeth, the boost of saliva flow you get from xylitol is great for dry mouth relief. A lot of dry mouth sprays and lozenges are loaded with artificial preservatives, sweeteners, and colors. Luckily, xylitol on its own can significantly reduce symptoms of dry mouth.

3. Xylitol Regulates Your Oral pH

Using xylitol is one of the most effective ways to naturally balance your oral pH levels. By inhibiting acid production and promoting saliva flow, xylitol helps you maintain a more neutral pH level in your mouth.

Xylitol has a pH of 6.5—that’s nearly identical to the pH of saliva, which is usually around 6.7.

Maintaining a balanced oral pH is crucial for dental health because acidic conditions can demineralize tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay.

How to Use Xylitol for Your Teeth

The most efficient way to reap the benefits of xylitol for your teeth is to use toothpaste sweetened with xylitol. This way, you can incorporate it into your daily routine without adding any extra steps.

That’s why all of our Better & Better toothpaste formulas are infused with organic xylitol for dry mouth relief, cavity-fighting power, and a touch of natural sweetness. Many popular toothpaste brands use saccharin as a sweetener, and while this may taste pleasant for some people, it doesn’t deliver the oral health benefits that xylitol does. In fact, some research has linked saccharin to certain cancers.

Another easy way to get a quick dose of xylitol is with an oral spray like Balance. Throughout the day, your mouth can accumulate bacteria that contribute to bad breath and a dry mouth. But a quick spritz of xylitol (along with fast-absorbing liquid vitamins) can balance your pH between brushes.

Lastly, you can get xylitol from certain types of sugar-free chewing gum or breath mints. Just make sure you read the ingredient list to confirm.

Common Questions About Xylitol and Oral Health

Now that you know about the benefits of xylitol, let’s dive into some common questions before you add it to your routine.

Do Dentists Recommend Xylitol?

Xylitol is widely recommended by dentists, periodontists, and healthcare professionals as a means to prevent cavities and protect your oral microbiome. Don’t take our word for it though—one peer-reviewed medical journal says the benefits of xylitol “are literally worth salivating over.”

Can You Use Xylitol Every Day?

Yes—adults can consume up to 70 grams of xylitol per day, according to the International Journal of Dentistry.

Can Kids Have Xylitol?

Yes—the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry supports the use of xylitol to help kids prevent cavities. Studies involving xylitol and kids have been performed with xylitol intake ranging between 4 and 15 grams per day.

What Are the Side Effects of Xylitol?

Xylitol is widely considered safe, but it can cause digestive issues such as bloating for some people when consumed in large amounts. However, a small dose from toothpaste or oral spray is highly unlikely to cause any tummy trouble.

Tip: While xylitol is good for you, it's not good for your canine best friend. If your dog consumes any amount of xylitol, call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Start Brushing Better with Xylitol Toothpaste

From sorbitol to saccharin, almost all the toothpaste you find at the supermarket contains sugar-free sweeteners. But as you can see, not all sweeteners are created equal. Xylitol gives you the hint of sweetness that your palate craves, plus the remineralizing power your pearly whites crave.

Speaking of remineralization, start brushing better with Fortify. In addition to xylitol, this formula is infused with hydroxyapatite, which is clinically shown to remineralize tooth enamel as effectively as fluoride—without any potentially toxic side effects.

With these two powerhouse ingredients, it’s no wonder GQ named Fortify best toothpaste of the year.

Xylitol significantly reduces the risk of cavities, according to a 2017 review published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine.