This week on the blog, a historical capsule where we answer a recurring question, the xylitol in my toothpaste, what is it ? Made from birch bark, xylitol is a 100% natural sweetener discovered by Finnish researchers over a century ago. Let's find out a little more about this sugar for a radiant smile and a very fresh mouth !
The German chemist Hermann Emil Fischer of the University of Berlin discovered in 1890 the xyloses or "Wood sugars". He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902 for this discovery.
It was by a chemical method that Fischer discovered and synthesized xylitol. Scientists would find out much later that it is a product that occurs naturally in the metabolism of glucose in humans.
In the early 1970s, advances in xylitol were made by Finnish dental professors K. Makinen and A. Scheinin. They discovered that xylitol had interesting properties. In 1975, they published the results of their research and from there the international community became interested in this new product. They have shown that natural birch sugar has strong beneficial effects on teething (1).
BRUSH MY TEETH ... WITH SUGAR ?
Behind the cap of our two natural toothpastes, xylitol is found combined with different active ingredients which, through their respective roles and benefits, give your mouth a wave of freshness and cleanliness that lasts. But, why would brushing your teeth...with sugar...be interesting for your mouth ? These few interesting facts listed below help to better understand why.
As mentioned previously, first of all because it appears naturally in the metabolism of glucose in humans and other animals as well as in that of several plants and microorganisms. Each person would therefore naturally produce up to 15 grams of xylitol per day (2).
Also, still according to the Plantes & Santé magazine, published by the Santé Port Royal company, the glycemic index of sugar would reach the number 100, and honey, 50, while xylitol would have a glycemic index of 7 (2).
Xylitol cannot be converted into acids by oral bacteria, which is why it helps restore a good alkaline / acid balance in the mouth.
This alkaline environment is inhospitable to all destructive bacteria, especially the worst category, Streptococcus mutans. Thus, using xylitol as soon as you wake up, after brushing your teeth and cleaning them with dental floss, protects and heals teeth and gums.
Xylitol has the property of strengthening enamel mineralization. It is very effective in the treatment of small localized cavities. Even though larger dental cavities won't go away, they can harden and become less sensitive (2).
Many other benefits of xylitol are circulating on the web, however it is still essential to confirm this information falling within the field of competence of dental health professionals.
Note : Keep away from animals due to the presence of xylitol which may represent a risk of poisoning for animals although it is a plant element. Xylitol is safe for humans. It is an ingredient used in some premium toothpastes.