Fight Cavities With Candy?
Good news for those with a sweet tooth: Snacking on certain Gummi Bears may ward off cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth, according to researchers at the University of Washington. But it's not just any gummies that are good for you. Gummi candy made with the sugar substitute xylitol (commonly used in sugarless gum) is said to combat tooth decay. Just how does this candy keep your teeth clean? Read on for more details on the study, plus other helpful dental tips.
GOOD FOR YOU GUMMIESRecently published in the journal BMC Oral Health, this study reveals that children who ate Gummi Bears with xylitol three times a day over six hours had less plaque and bacteria in their mouths than the kiddos who didn't. And what, exactly, is xylitol? Sounds scary, but it's actually a naturally occurring sweetener found in fruit and veggies, including raspberries, strawberries, mushrooms, lettuce, endive and corn cobs. Xylitol rebalances the body's pH levels, staving off cavity-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites that tend to grow in an acidic environment. Products containing xylitol not only reduce cavities by up to 80 percent, they are also lower in calories than their counterparts containing sugar or other sweeteners.
UP YOUR XYLITOL INTAKESo where can you get this magical cavity-fighting candy? While you can't currently buy Gummi Bears with xylitol (researchers had a California candy maker make up a special batch just for the study), it is anticipated that dental-friendly gummies will soon be hitting a candy counter near you. In the meantime, you can chew on other xylitol-based gums and mints from Altoids, Carefree, Trident or Orbit.
For maximum effectiveness, experts recommend consuming four to 12 grams of xylitol per day (one stick of suglarless contains a little over a gram of xylitol). Any more may produce a laxative effect, thanks to xylitol's high fiber content. Check out Emerald Forest and Epic Dental for an array of xylitol-based products, from gum to jams to chocolate.
OTHER HEALTHY TEETH TIPSBut don't expect candy or gum to prevent all of your dental dilemmas. To prevent cavities and keep your gums and mouth healthy, take care of your teeth by following these dental tips, as recommended by Crest:
1. Brusha Brusha Brusha. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes morning and night, giving attention to the gum line with small circular movements.