Since the last the end of 20th century and the start of 21st, gum manufacturers from all around the world unified in their wish to increase the dental health of their customers by providing them with chewing gums that not only switched from pure sugar to sugarless sweeteners, but also used ingredients that would actively protect their teeth against cavities and decay. One of the most essential elements that became widely used by almost every gum maker is Xylitol, a naturally-occurring diabetic-safe low-calorie carbohydrate that could be harvested in its raw form from the coconut shells, barks of birch trees and cottonseed hulls, but it can be found in smaller quantities in many other places such as corn, plums, raspberries and other fruits and vegetables. When processed, it looks and tastes much like an ordinary sugar, and is very similar to other popular “sugar alcohols” (or sugarless sweeteners) that can be found in modern products on store shelves.
The teeth decay is caused by many forms of bacteria that live in our mouth. Those bacteria are not appearing mouth naturally but are transmitted from mouths of other people. Their spreading, inhibition of growth and eventually permanent attachment of the bacteria to the teeth most commonly happens by sharing food, but it can also happen via the simple lip-to-lip goodnight kisses that parents give to their children. Because of that simple way of transmission, dentists from all around the world recommend daily ingestion of up to 5g of xylitol (around 9 mints or 3-5 pieces of gum per day, preferably just after a meal so that xylitol can dissuade bacteria in feeding on natural sugars in your meal), which gives excellent chance that harmful bacteria in mouth will start to starve, teeth would get more time to regenerate their outer mineral layers, and eventually presence of bacteria will go to such a low level that appearance of tooth decay would not spread or appear.
The core reason why xylitol helps in dental health is that it is non-fermentable. This means that bacteria cannot break down the xylitol and release energy, making it inert to them, and therefore removing a food supply from their ecosystem. After prolonged use, the lack of food inhibits the growth and reproduction of harmful micro-organisms living in the mouth, allowing the natural re-mineralization process to coat teeth and provide them with safety wall against decay. The non-fermentable nature of xylitol is also a reason why this substance is not recommended to be used in the creation of bread since yeast bacteria can't extract the necessary energy that they get from disassembly of ordinary sugars.
The additional positive benefit of intake of xylitol (xylitol gums) is that this sugarless sweetener has a lesser effect on blood sugar levels since it is more slowly absorbed into our metabolism. This effect can help people who suffer impaired glucose tolerance disorder, which is a factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Today xylitol is used in wide variety of products, making it one of the most popular low caloric sugarless sweeteners on the market.