I’m James D. Geren DDS and I’m Dr. Zeyad Mady DDS of Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry in Alexandria. Our family dentistry clients often ask me if chewing xylitol gum is an effective substitute for tooth brushing and regular dental exams.
Before I answer that question, let me tell you a little bit about xylitol:
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that was first discovered in birch tree bark but is also found in many fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other sweeteners (natural or synthetic), xylitol is actually good for your teeth. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that xylitol prevents the growth of the bacteria that initiates decay. It also reduces plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.
Xylitol has other benefits, as well. Because it is low on the glycemic index, many of my diabetic patients enjoy it as a healthy alternative to sugar. If my cosmetic dentistry patients complain about frequent dry mouth, I recommend Xylitol gum or mints to stimulate saliva production without promoting tooth decay.
Now, back to the golden question. Is xylitol gum just as effective as brushing your teeth and seeing your family dentist regularly? Absolutely not! If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, chewing xylitol gum for five or ten minutes is probably a good idea. However, you should still brush your teeth thoroughly (with a soft brush) after meals and get twice-yearly exams and oral dentistry deep cleanings at your Alexandria dentistry clinic.
At Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry, our goal is to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life by preventing dental problems before they start. If you postpone dental visits until you feel pain, you risk losing teeth and most certainly will require more extensive treatment than if the problem was caught earlier. By getting regular dental exams, we can help diagnose things like gum disease early and recommend periodontal treatment.
Is it time for a dental exam? Call us at 703-360-5881 to book an appointment. We serve patients in the Alexandria, Mt. Vernon, Springfield, Annandale, and Washington D.C. areas.