||What is xylitol?
Xylitol is a sweet, white substance that looks and tastes like
sugar, but has 40% fewer calories than sucrose and is diabetic
friendly. Xylitol is organic and all natural — found in the
fibers of fruits and vegetables like corn, berries and
mushrooms, and the wood of trees like the birch. It is even
produced naturally in small amounts by our bodies. This amazing
sweetener that has the power to protect our teeth is the main
ingredient in Zellies.
What does xylitol do?
Xylitol not only rids the mouth of sticky harmful bacteria, it
actually promotes the growth of tooth-protective, non-acidic
bacteria. Plaque bacteria use sucrose and carbohydrates from our
diet to grow and multiply. They create sticky threads that allow
them to attach to the tooth surface and each other to form thick
layers and acids that damage teeth.
When plaque bacteria absorb xylitol, they cannot multiply, produce
acids, or stick to teeth. Eating products like
Zellies Xylitol Gum
and Zellies Xylitol Mints means
less plaque will form on teeth, and eventually plaque bacteria may
be undetectable in the mouth. Xylitol also raises mouth pH and
encourages mineral-rich saliva to flow into the mouth. This can
protect and remineralize teeth by repairing the deep layers of
How does xylitol work?
Here’s a more detailed, scientific version of the process.
Xylitol has a beneficial effect on the bacterial flora found in the
mouth, nose, and throat.
A bacteria cell has an outer layer called
cytoplasm. This portion of the cell surrounds a
spaghetti pile of DNA called a nucleoid.
When products containing sugar or carbohydrates are consumed, sugar
will dissolve in saliva and be absorbed by bacteria in plaque on
teeth. The sugar is absorbed into the cytoplasm layer
and then is transported to “feed” the cell with energy to reproduce
Xylitol is readily absorbed by plaque bacteria, where it
travels into the cell cytoplasm. The difference is that the cell
lacks the mechanism to provide energy for the cell to multiply and
reproduce. Furthermore the cell tries to expel the xylitol, and
expends energy trying to push the xylitol away and out of the cell.
Because the bacteria cell uses its energy to expel the
xylitol, it is less able to stick to teeth and is therefore more
easily removed by tooth cleaning. Xylitol has also interfered with
acid production by the cell and prevented reproduction. This process
of using energy to no purpose is called a futile cycle.
Toxic, cavity forming plaque bacteria die each time they are in
contact with xylitol. As harmful bacteria are cleaned away, new
xylitol-resistant bacteria take their place. These new bacteria do
not produce acids, do not damage teeth and do not form sticky layers
of plaque. These bacteria appear to form a protective coating over
teeth – fighting off intruding bacteria and protecting enamel from
things that may harm teeth.
Why is Xylitol better for teeth than other sugarless sweeteners?
Xylitol is a small 5 carbon alcohol and has completely different
chemistry from other similar-sounding sweeteners commonly found in
commercial products. Most sugarless sweeteners have large 6 carbon
molecules, making them too big to penetrate the protoplasm of a
bacteria cell. These sugarless sweeteners may not feed bacteria
cells, but they don’t kill the cells like xylitol.
Bacteria learn to process sorbitol, commonly found in commercial
sugarless gum and candy, after about three exposures. Harmful
bacteria cells are able to set up pathways that allow sorbitol to
transport into the cytoplasm and provide energy to the cell. Plaque
bacteria use this energy from sorbitol to grow and multiply. This
can lead to thicker plaque and may even give rise to acid reflux
conditions in the throat and stomach.
The benefits of xylitol
Continuous use of xylitol creates a desirable environment for
healthy mouth bacteria and an undesirable environment for unhealthy
plaque bacteria. After 5 weeks of eating at least 6 grams of
xylitol each day, sticky plaque bacteria will no longer be found on
teeth. After 6 months of continuous xylitol use, these bacteria will
be undetectable in saliva, on teeth and on the tongue. You can get
started today with Zellies.