We’ve written about the benefits of Xylitol before and how it can help prevent decay in the mouth. Well, there’s more!
At our recent trip to Yankee Dental Congress, one of the classes we took discussed the benefits of Xylitol which help prevent decay and aid in the prevention of dry mouth, but our speaker also discussed a few other areas that Xylitol has shown beneficial promise.
The first slide she showed us was a diabetic patient whose foot which was black with necrotic tissue, a slide almost too horrific to look at. The patient, she stated, was a classic case of diabetes with ulcer(s) and would likely lose the foot to amputation. As I stared at the slide, she proceeded to talk to us about the alternative treatment used for patients’ foot. In dentistry, we talk a lot about biofilms which are colonies of cells/bacteria that are encompassed within a self-produced sticky layer. In the mouth, we often refer to it as plaque. As the presenter went on, she pointed out that in dentistry, we know that mechanical debridement is always our first step in treating disease. So for the diabetic patient, the ulcer was debrided and then followed by treatment of Xylitol on the wound area itself. Cut to the next slide. The patients’ foot was almost completely healed though he/she did have to have the big toe amputated. I was shocked.
The next area our speaker touched upon was ear infections and the ever growing issue of antibiotic resistance and overuse. She told us of a case where a child who had been prone to ear infections, was given Xylitol in the form of a nasal spray to try and prevent further ear infections. It worked.
Some other research shows that Xylitol can help prevent Candida Albicans infections, commonly known as yeast, and also may influence the effects of aging on collagen.
While Xylitol does have it’s limitations and side effects most notably, diarrhea, gas and bloating, it’s exciting to see the potential benefits for Xylitol.
I think what is most amazing is that once upon a time, the mouth was almost considered not to be connected to rest of the body. Now we see links between oral manifestations and other diseases in the body. Heart disease and periodontal disease to name one. Biofilms are one of the main culprits in dental diseases and seem to show effects about other types of disease, i.e., diabetic ulcers.
Keeping your mouth disease-free is critical to keeping your body healthy–it’s all connected!!!
Our office would love to help you and your family with your dental health. Give us a call!
Kim is registered dental hygienist currently working at Seasons of Smiles in Camden, Maine. She graduated from University College in Bangor. She also holds an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration through the University of Southern Maine.