While you might not be familiar with the term “dental caries” you definitely know what they are. In fact, dental caries is just another term for cavities, the most common form of oral diseases known to man. You end up with dental caries due to tooth decay.

Tooth decay happens because of the destruction of the enamel of the tooth. No one is immune to this and it is a common issue with children, teens, and adults. The tooth enamel is broken down by acid producing bacteria that make up most of the plaque that sticks on the surfaces of our teeth. The acid comes from the sugars in our diets that we share with these bacteria. If we don’t eat sugar they can’t make any acid and we don’t have any cavities. Easy to say, but we all have a sweet tooth, so it’s pretty hard to do.

There are two major groups of caries: pit and fissure caries and smooth surface caries.

Pit and fissure caries are most commonly found on the chewing surfaces of molar and premolar teeth, and the back of the anterior teeth. Teeth contain multiple layers of enamel, and these layers meet to create small grooves where the plaque is harder to remove with brushing or flossing, making it easier for decay to get a start.

Smooth surface caries are most commonly found where teeth touch or along the gum line. It’s because of these caries that flossing is so important. Flossing regularly and using a manual or power toothbrush in these areas can help prevent cavities that would normally form.

The addition of xylitol to your oral products can help reduce the likelihood of dental caries as well, giving you extra defenses against tooth decay. Xylitol has been studied for over 40 years and has been shown to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that causes dental caries and to reduce the acid that causes the cavities. This is because the main cavity causing bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, cannot metabolize xylitol and therefore can’t grow, and if the dietary sugars are replaced by xylitol there is no acid production.

It is recommended consuming five to seven grams total of xylitol per day, spread out through several servings, to reap these benefits. Without making changes to your usual routine, you can easily incorporate the necessary xylitol. Instead of using a regular toothpaste, floss, or mouthwash, make the easy switch to xylitol based products and you won’t even have to think twice about getting enough xylitol into your daily routine.

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