We’ve been discussing the importance of xylitol in keeping our mouths free of decay. It’s a type of sugar that does not contribute to the bacteria causing problems in our mouth. Some dentists are even suggesting it be used on children to help keep their mouths in better shape. Apparently, American children need some help in this area.
Dental caries affects children in all countries, but the US has a higher percent than dentists would like to see. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, by the time a US child is 17 years old, 80% of them have experienced some kind of tooth decay. Some countries, such as Finland, have much better numbers. Finland specifically shows that only 20% of their children experience tooth decay by 17 years of age. That is a dramatic difference.
One of the main differences between Finland and America is that Finland schools distribute xylitol to their students on a regular basis. The head of the Ministry of Health in Belize, Dr. Peter Allen, reports that in a study completed in his country, xylitol reduced caries by over 50% with results continuing a similar reduction even 5 years after the study and xyitol usage was done. Dentists can conclude from this that xylitol may have lasting effects on the health of our childrens’ mouths. Not only will this set up better oral hygiene for our kids, but they may be less likely to need cosmetic dentist work in the future and will have better overall health.