The Power of Xylitol
Zellies Mints and Gum taste great, but do you know the real reason you should be using them after meals, snacks and acidic drinks? Here’s the low-down on the powerful, natural ingredient found in all Zellies products…xylitol!
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 and multiply.
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.
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.
For more information, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:
Dr. E Oral Health Coaching - a number of articles, resources and videos to help you learn more
Zellies.com - learn more and order your Zellies Xylitol & the Complete Mouth Care System
Dr. Ellie.com - a great resource for learning more about oral health and Dr. Ellie
And join the conversation online on the Zellies Facebook page!