Xylitol – A Cost/Benefit Analysis

Dear Dr. Ellie:

Does eating Xylitol have the same benefits as chewing the gum and/or the mints? If I were to follow your program with the gum exclusively, I would need 1800 pieces of gum (10 a day for 6 months). I’d like to supplement with the straight xylitol if the benefits are the same. Thank You!  A Benefit Hunter!

Dear Benefit Hunter!

I would first like to point out ( for a little humor and hopefully a smile) that if you purchased the very best 100 percent Zellies xylitol gum it would cost you $144.00 for six months supply + $14.00 shipping = $158.00 ( wholesale price of 18 tubs at $8.00 per tub http://www.zellies.com/store.asp?pid=11236&catid=19708) . This would not only help to strengthen, repair and remineralize any soft or weak teeth, but would also gradually eliminate plaque for improved gingival health but control bad breath while making your teeth shinier and whiter.

If I were a marketing person, I would tell you that such improvements in your oral health may allow you to get a raise at work ( more smiling and happiness) meet new and influential people and increase your chances of health, wealth and happiness at the cost of only $0.94 cents per day!!

Granular xylitol would obviously be the least expensive way to achieve the same effect. Suppose you eat half of a 4 gram packet ( 2 grams ) after four meals a day = 8 grams a day. 360 packets would last you for 6 months cost of $36.00 + 8.00 shipping = $44.00 which is only $0.25 per day!

Research by Peter Milgrom at the University of Washington in the early 2000’s showed that it does not matter the form in which you eat xylitol to reduce the population of harmful mouth bacteria.

Harmful mouth bacteria absorb xylitol from whatever you eat (even when cooked in a custard or cake) in the same way that they would “feed” on sugar/sucrose or carbohydrate/sugar in the diet. Sugar/carbohydrate fuel these harmful acid-producing bacteria and they make more acids to damage teeth and set up more infection.

Xylitol is absorbed by these acid-producing bacteria in the same way but xylitol prevents the bacteria from producing acids and clogs their metabolism. The bacteria are prevented from increasing acidity in the mouth,are starved and die out hence the reduction in plaque as they are eliminated.

If you are using xylitol to protect teeth from mouth acidity you simply need to follow every acid attack with something that makes the mouth alkaline. Eating some xylitol after acidic juice drinks, acid reflux attack etc. is a convenient way to protect teeth – but it does not matter if it is a xylitol spray, gum, granular, mint or solution.

[There are other “tooth-protective” foods that can achieve this same alkaline effect when eaten. Dairy products (cheese and milk), fresh apples, almonds, asparagus, celery and other green vegetables, salt water etc. They are useful and protective foods but most of them do not give the antibacterial effect that xylitol offers]

Xylitol is tooth-protective AND anti-bacterial. It is convenient and healthy which makes it easy to recommend. I think the benefits are a bargain any way you eat it!

Thanks for your question it is smart to do a cost analysis on oral health!

Thanks for your question a really good one!

Ellie Phillips, DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!
26, Corporate Woods,
Rochester NY 14623

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