The “Sugar” in Sugar-Free Gum | Riverside Dentist

Do like chewing gum? Is it a sugar-free brand? Have you ever wondered if the advantages of sugar-free gum are actually benefiting your teeth? It turns out, many of those products actually do work, and it is because of a common sugar replacement called Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a natural, sweet substance often used to sweeten foods without the caloric impact of sugar. While Xylitol is sweet, it doesn’t have the same impact on your body as sugar.

Cavity-causing bacteria needs to feed on sugar, but it cannot feed on Xylitol. Chewing sugar-free gum containing Xylitol not only doesn’t feed these damaging bacteria, but it allows your body to wash away the sugar by producing more saliva. Over time, fewer and fewer bacteria will live in the mouth, and less plaque will form.

Gum and mint products are the most common, and most sufficient, sources of Xylitol for dental impact. If Xylitol is listed as the first ingredient, it likely has enough to actually decrease decay-causing bacteria over time if chewed regularly, perhaps 3-5 times per day for 5 minutes at a time.

Xylitol has been approved as safe by the US FDA and World Health Organization, but should be taken in moderation. While common in foods such as gum and mints, care should be taken, as too much Xylitol can be difficult for your body to digest. Chewing gum a few times per day is a cheap, simple way to keep your teeth clean, while fighting off cavities.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.