Can Candy Be Good for Your Teeth?

Plastic wrapped lollipops scattered on a white background.
Some types of candy are sweetened with xylitol.

We’ve all heard that candy is bad for our teeth. The sticky, sugary treats are known to contribute to dental decay and cavities. What if there were candies that weren’t bad, but actually good for your oral health? We tried xylitol lollipops to learn more about this dentist-approved candy.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a commonly used sugar substitute. It occurs naturally in many plants. Like cane sugar, it tastes sweet. However, xylitol doesn’t turn into cavity-causing acids in the mouth. It actually helps neutralize acids. It can be found in “sugar-free” gum and candies and is also used for some medicines. Both Zollipops and Dr. John’s make a variety of tooth-friendly candies with xylitol.

Xylitol Helps Teeth

Research shows that xylitol can decrease the amount of a certain type of bacteria in plaque and saliva that causes cavities. Use of xylitol products can reduce dental decay (cavities) in children, mothers, and in children via their mothers. Several studies have shown that moms who chew gum with xylitol can actually reduce these bacteria levels in their children.

The Xylitol Experiment

We found this challenge on the Zollipop website and decided to try it out with a few curious kids we know. First, we enjoyed a sugary treat. Then we used pH test strips to test the acidity of our mouths. A few minutes later, we had Zollipops and then checked our pH again. We all saw a decrease in acid after the Zollipop! And if you’re wondering about the taste: they’re great. You don’t get and funny aftertaste like you get with other sugar replacements. Moms and kids were both happy.

It’s important to maintain proper brushing habits. Yes, xylitol candies are great, but they aren’t a replacement for a thorough brushing twice a day. Your child also needs a professional checkup with the dentist at least twice a year, and you should consider protections like sealants and fluoride. Please consider making Dr. Asha your child’s dentist today.