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October 09 newsletter

05 July 2010

Xylitol: The Sugar Substitute with Dental Benefits

With obesity at alarming levels, and decay in children still quite prevalent, finding a sweetener that is beneficial to your health is crucial. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that meets these requirements.It is a naturally occurring sugar found in all fibrous vegetables. Xylitol is made naturally within the body, but as a sugar substitute, birch wood or corncobs are the commercial sources. Foods, pharmaceuticals, natural health care, toothpastes, chewing gum and other oral health care products have contained xylitol since the 1960s, with more than 35 countries worldwide using xylitol-containing products.

Over 1500 published studies have shown xylitol to have health benefits and an unsurpassed safety record.
The main beneficial properties of xylitol as a sweetener are:

  • It equals the sweetness of sugar
  • It has 40 fewer calories than sugar
  • Its metabolism does not require insulin
  • It has a low glycaemic index (GI) of seven.

Unlike artificial sweeteners, xylitol has numerous health benefits. When consumed, it is absorbed very slowly without having any effect on insulin levels and therefore blood sugar (glucose) levels. This is highly beneficial in diabetics or those with blood sugar abnormalities.
Although it is a sweetener, xylitol has dental health benefits. Unlike other sugars, it does not cause dental caries (cavities). Bacterium uses sugar alcohols, sugars and other carbohydrates for food through fermentation. On doing so, it produces acids that eat through the enamel on the teeth, which leads to decay. The bacteria that cause decay cannot ferment xylitol. Additionally, xylitol causes the environment to become more alkaline inhibiting the bacterium’s growth.

In a recent issue in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, they found that children who consume a syrup containing the naturally occurring sweetener xylitol may be less likely to develop tooth decay. They found that a twice-daily topical oral syrup during primary tooth eruption could prevent up to 70 percent of decayed teeth.

We recently introduced the CariFree range of products that contains Xylitol and Fluoride in a pH+ solution to neutralise the decay causing acids in the mouth to maintain good health and create a balanced oral health environment. For patients with moderate to high risk of decay ie. fillings almost every dental visit, these rinses, sprays, toothpastes, gums and lollies can really make the mouth a healthy environment.

Do You Snore? Does Your Snoring Cause You Or Your Partner To Wake Up?
Do You Wake Up Gasping For Air? Do You Experience Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?
If the answer is YES, You may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

The use of Oral Appliances is a scientifically proven and effective method in the treatment of loud snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea. Dental appliances can help position the jaw and tongue to increase the volume of airflow and prevent soft tissues in the mouth from collapsing. The SomnoDent oral device has exceptional levels of patient acceptance and compliance and treatment efficiency are backed by a large body of clinical research and offers patients an alternative treatment to that of corrective upper airway surgery. The device is worn when you sleep and is very discrete, allowing you to close your lips so it is not obvious that you are wearing it.

Allow us to share some facts about snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea:

  • An estimated 2 million – or one in ten Australians snore
  • More Than 40% of adults over 40 snore
  • Individuals who snore have a high likelihood of having (or developing) obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Some 24 percent of men and 9% of women suffer from sleep apnoea
  • Up to 50 % of sleep apnoea patients have high blood pressure
  • Risk for heart attack and stroke alsomay increase among those who have sleep apnoea.
  • Nearly 60 percent of sleep apnoea patients suffer from daytime sleepiness, a side effect of sleep apnoea.
  • Snoring and mild-moderate apnoea is improved and often eliminated in many patients who use the SomnoDent oral appliance.

Dental Services Under Medicare

The Medicare EPC program is still in place. For those with chronic illnesses, Medicare can cover over $4000 of dentistry. A referral from a GP is needed to set this up. Let us know if you need help getting this organised.

To Maintain good oral health, you should take the following steps:

  • Drink plenty of water. Keeping your mouth moist is important in warding off tooth decay and periodontal diseases because it washes away food and neutralises plaque.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods from the five major food groups
  • Cut down on snacking in between meals
  • Limit snacks and drinks that are high in sugar as the acid could lead to abrasion and possibly gum recession
  • Do not smoke
  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss Daily
  • Visit your dentist for regular check ups