Xylitol Makes Chewing Gum Good for Your Body

K. Mathews on 21 Nov 2011 at 1:00pm

While gum is usually associated with bad habits like loud smacking and improper disposal, certain gums contain an ingredient that may make chewing gum a good habit. When it comes to gum with xylitol, even dentists agree that it’s not only a great alternative to sugary gums, but also helps to block cavities. And according to recent research, it can also stave off ear infections.

So what is this magical ingredient anyway? Xylitol is a birch sugar used to sweeten food products in place of traditional sugar. Unlike some sugar substitutes, xylitol is not just “not bad” for you – it also has benefits. You see, xylitol prevents the formation of bacteria that lead to cavities. Over time, xylitol consumption alters the bacteria in the mouth, reducing the chance of tooth decay.

ice breakers xylitol gum3In addition to your teeth, xylitol also can improve the health of your ears. A series of studies in Finland found that xylitol-infused gum reduced the number of childhood ear infections. Kids who chewed gum containing the ingredient were approximately 25% less likely to develop ear infections. Given that ear infections are the #1 reason kids are prescribed antibiotics, and antibiotic use can lead to later resistance to the drugs, finding alternatives is important.

“Xylitol” may come near the end of the alphabet, but it’s the first thing you should look for when purchasing chewing gum. Beware, however, that if Xylitol is not listed as the first ingredient, it probably will not have a strong enough amount to provide you with the benefits.

Does Xylitol make you more inclined to chew gum, or is it still a "bad habit"? 

Photo credits: RealSelf; kaboodle.com

Comments (7)

A new literature review was recently conducted, and it is now somewhat unclear whether chewing Xylitol gum works better to prevent cavities than chewing other kinds of sugarless gum.

Click here if you would like to read an article that cover this more in depth.

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For those who are still hungry for more information on Xylitol, click here to see an article that gives a deeper look into the science of Xylitol.

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Not just dogs, it's extremely toxic to cats. One stick will send you on an emergency trip to the vet to save the cats life. Don't leave anything containing Xylitol in an open purse, on the counter, or anyplace you pets can get to it. If they find it, it won't be worth the outcome.
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Good tips to keep Xylitol products away from pets! I had heard the cautions about it being bad for dogs, but didn't know it was the same for cats.

My weiner dog got a hold of some Xylitol gum & thank goodness didn't get sick...but this is the same dog that weighs about 10 pounds & stole, then ate, 1.5 pounds of turkey & was fine so he is definitely not the norm!

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A word of caution: xylitol can be lethal to dogs. Please take care to keep your gum away from your canine friends. Happy Thanksgiving!
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they've been selling this stuff in asia for years. if you have an asian food store in your area, you can stock up on all different kinds
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I love Xylitol gum, but gum isn't the only form you can enjoy it in. They sell Xylitol candies in Japan that are similar to eating Zots (hard candy with a fizzy inside).

Its interesting to me that in the U.S., land of promotion & marketing, Xylitol products aren't as heavily marketed as they are in other countries.

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