You’ve often heard the expression, “Your eyes are the window to your soul”. Likewise, we now know that your mouth is the window to your entire body. That’s why as a Naturopathic Medical Doctor and Doctor of Dentistry, I’ve taken a very serious look at how my patients can best protect themselves against periodontal disease and systemic health issues, especially cardiovascular disease.
We now recognize the direct connection between inflammatory bacteria in the mouth and systemic disease states, such as cardiovascular disease, periodontal disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and some cancers.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a 5-carbon sugar alcohol that naturally occurs in fruits, vegetables and woody plants, like birch. This sugar is very safe in humans.
How Does Xylitol Promote Better Oral Health?
Xylitol helps to decrease the bacterial load especially with streptococcus mutans and H. pylori, the bacterium primarily responsible for causing dental caries (decay) and gastric ulcers, respectively.
Along with its other known health benefits, regular Xylitol consumption improves periodontal disease by decreasing inflammation.
The use of Xylitol has shown a reduction in nasal, sinus and oro-pharyngeal infections. It is also effective against h-pylori, (the micro-organism implicated in periodontal disease, bad breath, gastric and duodenal ulcers, and even stomach cancer).
In the Journal of American Dental Association, studies have shown the use of Xylitol-sweetened gum reduced cavities in children in a dose-dependent manner, [i.e., the more gum chewed the fewer the cavities]. One piece of Xylitol chewing gum contains 3.5 grams of Xylitol and long term studies have shown it to prevent dental caries. DO NOT GIVE XYLITOL TO YOUR PETS, they cannot digest this type of sugar and it could be fatal.
The easiest way to combat these related-health concerns is to introduce Xylitol into one’s dietary protocol. Substitute Xylitol for any and all sugars that you presently eat or drink. Why? Well, first because this amazing new healthy sugar causes a rapid decline of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
To start, I recommend a minimum of 12 to 15 grams of Xylitol daily to reduce the acidity and dry mouth issues. This will decrease dental decay dramatically, upwards of 80%.
Xylitol Improves Insulin-Signaling, Diabetes and Weight Loss
Xylitol is also safe for diabetics and helps with weight loss. Yes, you read that correctly, Xylitol does not cause a significant rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. This is important for those on an anti-aging regimen, as excess insulin can add 15 years to your biological age. The more table sugar you consume, the higher your insulin levels become.
Research has shown that excess sugar and insulin are a lethal- combination that causes weight gain [this especially includes diet and non-diet soda’s and high–fructose corn syrup]. Increased insulin- signaling can dramatically increase fat storage in your cells. This increases the inflammatory cycle by increasing the cells [cytokines] that “turn–on” the inflammation process. Xylitol, disrupts this cycle, thereby acting as an anti-inflammatory substance.
Clinically proven effects of Xylitol include:
- Inhibiting plaque [biofilm] and dental cavities
- Retarding demineralization of tooth enamel
- Promoting remineralization of tooth enamel
- Increasing salivary production
- Relieving “dry mouth”
- Protecting salivary proteins, has a protein-stabilizing effect
- Improving breath odor
- Reducing infections in the mouth and nasopharynx
- Reducing middle ear infections in pediatric patients
Xylitol Improves Bone Health
It gets even better. Xylitol helps improve osteoporosis and increases bone mineral density (BMD). In several double- blind studies, Xylitol is showing promising results in raising BMD. According to figures compiled by the Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, osteoporosis causes some 1.5 million fractures in the United States each year. The cost for treating these fractures is approaching 10 billion dollars annually. Women develop osteoporosis four times more often than men.
Scientists propose that Xylitol’s bone density enhancing properties are due to its ability to promote intestinal absorption of calcium. They point out that calcium absorption is impaired with aging. [We are in the process of developing osteoporotic nutritional protocol’s and life style modification for this condition, as well as other anti-aging regimen’s]. Although the cost of Xylitol may seem to be more expensive than commercial sugars, it clearly represents a savings due to its many health benefits. Xylitol does not appear to have a toxic dose.
People have safely taken up to 400 grams daily without significant ill –effects. High doses, however, have been shown to cause diarrhea, at least initially. My recommendation is 12 to 15 grams daily (Q.D.).
I tell my patients that lowering inflammation in your mouth and gum tissue (gingiva) is the key to your oral and systemic health. Using Xylitol products by replacing commercial sugar with Xylitol will help you to achieve better overall health.
“The early cellular detection and diagnostic program that emphasizes a healthy lifestyle.”
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