Can you imagine a naturally occurring sugar found in plums, strawberries, raspberries and birch trees that can help reduce tooth decay? Well xylitol is exactly that!
How xylitol works as an anticariogenic is a twofold process:
1. By not producing acid harmful to enamel:
Xylitol passes through the cell wall of cavity forming bacteria (streptococcus mutans) but is not metabolized by the bacteria into an acid like a glucose or sucrose sugar would.
2. By decreasing the amount of bacteria being created:
Because of less acid and metabolic waste around the teeth, the bacteria have less chance to stick to each other and the teeth. This is the beginning of biofilm breakdown. Bacteria are unable to communicate to each other effectively without acid and metabolic waste, which then decreases the reproduction of more bacteria in the mouth.
Xylitol can be found added in chewing gum, mouthrinses, toothpastes and even lollipops! Just make sure to not give xylitol to dogs, because just like chocolate it is poisonous for your furry four-legged friends to eat!