A Dentist in Waterford CT is dedicated to helping patients keep their teeth and gums as healthy and problem-free as possible. Preventing tooth decay is an important part of this goal. By the time people reach their teen years and certainly by early adulthood, they usually are aware of the most fundamental cavity-prevention strategies. They know they should brush their teeth at least twice every day and avoid snacking on sugary foods and beverages. They’ve been informed about this by their parents and by dentists such as Matyas & Matyas. One thing they might not know is that chewing sugar-free gum can help prevent tooth decay. That’s especially true for gum sweetened with a substance known as xylitol.
Chewing any kind of sugarless gum is helpful for stimulating saliva production, and saliva protects teeth against acid that is implicated in tooth decay. Saliva also helps wash away sugars and food particles on and in between teeth. The rubbery material of sugar-free gum also is effective at scraping bacteria-laden plaque off the teeth. Xylitol has the added benefit of making saliva more alkaline, which in turn reduces acid in the mouth. Xylitol has been found to help teeth remineralize, which is a main benefit of fluoride. The earliest process of tooth decay is thus reversed. Using both xylitol and fluoride prevents the erosion of tooth enamel and also strengthens it. Xylitol is now being provided in toothpaste, including some products that also have fluoride. A person who is interested in these products may ask a Dentist in Waterford CT for more information.
People who are concerned about artificial chemicals will be reassured to learn that xylitol is a natural substance. It’s found in a variety of plants and even occurs naturally in the human body. It’s safe for children, and dentists may encourage parents to let their kids chew gum containing xylitol. That may be particularly helpful for youngsters who have been prone to developing cavities or who aren’t disciplined about their snacking behavior. Xylitol should be kept away from dogs, as this natural substance can be harmful to them, just as chocolate is.