Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol sweetener found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables as well as cornhusks and birch. Use of xylitol products have shown to decrease cariogenic Streptococcus levels while not affecting beneficial oral Streptococcus bacterial levels.15 As we know, the Streptococcus species responsible for the caries process is Streptococcus mutans. This bacteria has the ability to create an acidic environment aiding in the decalcification of enamel. While the enamel becomes weakened, the Lactobacillus proliferate and lead the caries process within the lesion development. Xylitol is available in chewing gum, mints, candies, and granulated sugar substitute form. While all of the forms are beneficial, patients in active treatment should avoid chewing gum to prevent loosening brackets and bands.
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