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