Does xylitol ring a bell? – The easy (yet sweet) way to take care of your oral health that Finnish dentists recommend

Who would have thought that chewing on sweetener extracted from birch might be good for your teeth? That may sound a bit silly, but there’s actually some truth to this. Let us explain.

Xylitol (or simply C5H12O5) was discovered as early as 1891 by German chemist Emil Fischer. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found naturally in several fruits and plants, especially in birch. Today xylitol is recommended by Finnish Dental Association for dental health. It is commonly consumed in chewing gum or pastil form after a meal to stop acid erosion and even prevent cavities.

According to the Finnish Dental Association xylitol prevents tooth decay by inhibiting the activity of cavity-causing bacteria such as Streptocuccus mutans. To gain the full health benefits of xylitol it should be consumed more than 5 grams per day. Studies have also shown that the use of xylitol during pregnancy can even improve the oral health of the baby.

And that’s not all! Xylitol can even reduce the risk of otitis media among small children due to its capability to limit the growth of Sreptococcus pneumonia.

Not bad for a piece of gum, right? Just remember that while chewing xylitol gum is a good habit, nothing can substitute brushing your teeth twice a day.