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Families, children and adults alike, especially those without dental insurance, are likely to preoccupy themselves with the smallest of habits to promote dental health and avoid sometimes painful oral health issues. Though most know that regular brushing and flossing are keys to keeping the mouth healthy, some may have never heard of the artificial sweetener in some gums that can clean teeth as the person chews.
According to Dr John Reitz, a member of the Pennsylvania State Dental Board and columnist for ReadingEagle.com, the sweetener xylitol, which is naturally found in the fibers of berries, corn husks, oats and mushrooms, reduces the growth of the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
"Tooth decay occurs when bacteria ferment carbohydrates and produce acid, which dissolves and removes the calcium from the tooth," Reitz wrote.
He added, "Substituting xylitol for sucrose not only kills the bacteria but allows calcium in the saliva to re-mineralize the tooth."
Chewing gum infused with the sweetener for at least five minutes after every meal can reduce tooth decay by as much as 50 percent, the dentist reported on ReadingEagle.com.
For personalized information on how to improve dental health, the American Dental Association recommends regularly consulting with a dentist.
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