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xylitol is good for your teeth – but do you know what it is?

there’s been a lot of fanfare around xylitol recently. if you’re digging in deep and reading this, you’ve probably seen xylitol pop up in chewing gum, breath mints, and sugar-free baked goods. as a sugar substitute, xylitol has about two-thirds the calories of sucrose—the chief component of cane sugar. but xylitol isn’t just a natural sweetener, it also has a starring role in toothpaste.

what is xylitol? is it safe?

xylitol is defined as a “sugar alcohol” but it’s actually neither a sugar nor an alcohol. chemistry majors will know that it’s actually classified as a carbohydrate. xylitol occurs naturally in lots of fruits and veggies—berries, plums, corn, mushrooms, lettuce—as well as in birch and hardwood trees. the word “xylitol” sounds kind of strange until you look at the word’s origins. “xylo” is greek for wood and “-itol” references sugar alcohols.

this natural sweetener has been added to foods and oral care products since the 1960s. its crystalline, granular structure is very much like table sugar, but with a few distinct advantages. xylitol tastes nearly as sweet as sugar but has only 2.4 calories per gram compared to sugar’s 4.0 grams. in addition to lower calories, xylitol has a lower glycemic index, making it a popular sugar substitute for people with diabetes and those on low carb diets (or those who try to stay on low carb diets, which is so tricky when a good pizza is just a phone call away).

xylitol in toothpaste and mouthwash

fun fact: xylitol also boosts the production of saliva. while we don’t want you drooling all over your keyboard, increased saliva production helps prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth and maintaining a neutral ph level in the mouth. unlike sugar, xylitol does not convert to acid – which is a plus, because acid can harm teeth.

according to a recent review of studies about the potential benefits of xylitol in toothpaste, researchers found.

how to use xylitol for teeth

xylitol is safe for use by both children and adults – and when included in toothpaste it can be a helpful tool for maintaining good dental hygiene.

while xylitol is fab for humans and their teeth, it’s very important to note that it’s not good for our canine friends. even small amounts of xylitol can cause dogs to have a range of serious health complications, so be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog ingests toothpaste or mouthwash that contains xylitol.

here at hello, xylitol is one of the many natural ingredients we use in our toothpastes and mouthwashes. and the particular xylitol that’s in our products is thoughtfully sourced from non-gmo corn. it helps make our toothpaste taste awesome, and helps make your teeth look awesome. and when it comes to awesomeness, the more the merrier.

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