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Sugar substitute may improve dental health for new mothers
Updated: 1/19/2009 5:00:37 PM

Sugar substitute may improve dental health for new mothers New research has shown a natural sugar substitute may help mothers improve their baby's dental health all by chewing on some gum.

Xylitol has been found to decrease the risk of dental caries infection, which causes cavities, in children when their mothers use the sugar substitute regularly. Some dental experts have said this is interesting because the child can benefit from treatment that is focused on the mother.

The research, known as the "Mother and Child" study, found that mothers who chewed xylitol gum for a two-year period after the birth significantly reduced the risk of childhood tooth decay.

Older children whose mothers used the gum also showed lower dental caries when compared to children whose mothers used fluoride or Chlorhexidine for dental care.

Dental caries infection can be passed down through generations through acid-producing bacteria, which has been found in a child's mouth as young as 3 months old. The sugar, when in contact with the bacteria, will not result in the production of the acid, which leads to enamel breakdown and cavities.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their initial dental checkup by their first birthday.

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