Sugar substitute could reduce tooth decay in kids

July 7, 2009 7:58:01 AM PDT
A sugar substitute may help reduce tooth decay in young children. The war on cavities now may have a new ally, a natural sweetener called xylitol. Young children who are given xylitol syrup twice a day are less likely to develop cavities in their baby teeth.

In a nearly year-long study xylitol cut cavities in half. The natural sweetener is found in fresh blueberries, cranberries, mushrooms, lettuce and corn. Xylitol is also added to mouth rinse, sugarless gum and mints.

"Xylitol will stick to the teeth so bacteria will not adhere to the tooth. So it actually helps the cavity from being formed," said Dr. Nancy Rosen, dentist.

Still, dentists say nothing prevents caveats as well as brushing and flossing.

You can learn more about the study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.