Sugar-free gum can be a great tool for weight loss and dental health. It provides an oral fixation, and some flavor, without adding many calories. Unfortunately, aspartame, which is the most commonly used artificial sweetener, has quite a few health risks associated with its consumption. Luckily, xylitol gum sweetens the gum and additionally provides some dental benefits as well. There’s a variety of brands out there that are sweetened with xylitol, so you’ve got lots of options.
Xylitol is a safe, naturally derived, (it’s present in most fruit!) and “tooth-friendly” natural sweetener. It’s the only sugar substitute that has been proven to actually help improve dental health. A study published in the British Dental Journal reported it’s findings regarding xylitol and dental health. “Xylitol and caries prevention — is it a magic bullet?” was researched and reported by Dr. Maguire and Dr. Rugg-Gunn, who are both professors at the School of Dental Sciences, at Newcastle University. The study found that xylitol had a profoundly positive effect on dental health.
“Xylitol exhibits dental health benefits” The study read. More specifically, xylitol also reduces certain harmful bacteria present in the mouth. “The inhibition of mother/child transmission of cariogenic oral flora leading to reduced caries development in young children is caries-preventive.” The study reports. “Xylitol’s specific effects on oral flora and especially on certain strains of mutans streptococci add to its caries-preventive profile and give it a unique role in preventive strategies for dental health.”
An easy and enjoyable way to take in xylitol, is through sugar-free gum. There are quite a few brands who use xylitol, as opposed to aspartame, as their main sweetener. A wide variety of brands exist both online, and even in your grocery store. Here’s a list of a few:
Trident sugarless gum with Xylitol
So before you write sugar-free gum off as an impulse buy at your next trip to the grocery store. Think about the health benefits. Not only will sugar-free gum help curb your appetite, but xylitol gum will help improve your dental health as well. Maybe you won’t be so quick to dismiss a purchase that’s inexpensive, fun, and good for your health.
Emily Manke is a health, lifestyle, HR, and travel blogger from Portland, Oregon. She sometimes contributes to the blog for this dentist in West Linn.