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Xylitol Products: an Overview of Gum, Mints, Mouthwash and more
Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that continues to see widespread adoption due its neutral or even positive effects on dental health. Some studies suggest that these products may help reverse tooth decay, which has enabled companies to market their Xylitol products as a healthy alternative to other sugar-based products. The granular form of Xylitol is roughly as sweet as sugar and can be used as a substitute for most recipes. Because it is a sugar alcohol, which can not be metabolized by yeast, Xylitol would not be a good substitute for breads or certain pastries. The range of products that include it are growing and include gums, mints, mouthwashes, toothpastes, candies, and even ketchup.
Though big companies have shied away from dipping too deeply into the Xylitol pool, it is conceivable to think that if sales of the current products on the market show healthy growth, the bigger companies may step in to take a piece of the pie, especially the pie that exists outside of gum. The other factor driving the adoption and trial and error of new sugar substitutes are continued evidence showing that "low fat" and "low calorie" options in the supermarket inexplicably do not lead to weight loss. The one big drawback to Xylitol that may inhibit its widespread adoption is that dogs (our furry four-legged friends) can not metabolize it. It can actually kill them by causing liver failure. But so can chocolate, and we haven't given up on it yet.
Because some individuals find that xylitol has a natural but subtle mint flavor to it to begin with, it is no surprise that mints comprise a large segment of the xylitol product line. Flavors range from spearmint, peppermint, fruits like cherry, apple, grape and just about everywhere in between. Because these products are sometimes difficult to find in stores, the internet is a great resource to order them, and at a significant discount when you buy in bulk.
Preventative dental care is what all dentists preach, and many are recommending using Xylitol rinses or mouthwashes in order to starve bacteria of the sugars they need to thrive in the mouth that might otherwise cause tooth decay. Flavors include mint and cinammon.
Most Xylitol toothpastes do not include Fluoride, which has been the standard "teeth strengthener" for many years. While the use of fluoride is generally considered safe by public health experts, its toxicity has caused some to question its widespread use in water supplies.
Kids and many adults love their candy, so when a sugar-free option comes along that may not pose some of the health risks that normal candies do, it might be worth it to try to get hooked on those types of candy instead of the other kind. Lollipops, taffy-like candies, mints, and several other products are available from brands such as Spry, Epic, and Xlear.
Because xylitol can be used as a sugar substitute in many products, expect to see wider adoption in sauces in the the future. For now, limited product lines are available, including ketchup.
As far as gum goes, in some informal studies conducted among various gum-chewers of the world, it seems that while Xylitol gum isn't necessarily preferred for its flavor, it also is not derided. Meaning, if you use gum as a quick breath freshener and not as an hours-long fixation, Xylitol gums may be the perfect product for you due to clinical tests showing that it inhibits tooth decay.
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