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I had my semi annual dentist appointment. I have noticed an increase in plaque since my last visit. For most of my life I have had very little plaque or tartar. The dentist tells me that increased plaque is due to dry mouth - sigh - another tissue drying out because of hormone changes.
He recommended xylitol gum. I have been buying xylitol gum, but have used it sparingly. The dentist encourages me to use it more often. He cited a fascinating study where pregnant women were recruited. The women thought they were the subjects, but in reality it was their unborn children. The scientists involved wanted to test their theory that mothers passed the bacteria that causes tooth decay to their children when they shared or taste-tested food. Since xylitol reduces mouth bacteria, the scientists expected to see reduced mouth bacteria and tooth decay in the children of the women chewing xylitol gum as opposed to women chewing another gum. Indeed that is exactly what happened. When the 2-year-old children were tested, the ones whose mothers had chewed xylitol gum had less mouth bacteria. Those mothers also had fewer cavities.
This sounds great, but I have to think of the BTD. Xylitol is unrated, so it is considered neutral unless it gives me trouble. Gums used as thickeners are avoid for type O. But I don't see a reference to chewing gum. I can't imagine it would be a problem, because you never swallow it.
So I've been chewing more xylitol gum and drinking more water, and the plaque situation is improving.
The dentist joked about making a chocolate bar sweetened with xylitol. He said current research is showing that chocolate is really good for many health problems - it's just the sugar that's so bad. He said, if there was a xylitol chocolate bar, parents would say. "Johnny, did you eat your candy bar before bedtime. Remember not to brush your teeth after you eat it."
I went on the internet, and a British company does make a xylitol sweetened chocolate bar. A company in the US makes a bar called Chocoperfection. It is sweetened with erythritol. The website says that erythritol is a sugar alcohol similar to xylitol. Erythritol inhibits bacteria in their ability to ferment lactose and reduces production of acid on the dental plaque.
My dad has been using unsweetened bakers chocolate quite successfully to combat uneven heartbeats. I'm going to order some Chocoperfection for him and sneak a taste myself.
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