||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 enamel.
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