Xylitol in Pregnancy
It’s perfectly normal for newly expectant moms to begin questioning everything they put into their bodies. Most women worry to some greater or lesser degree about whether the things they eat or the cosmetics they use will have some effect on their growing baby. It’s normal, and it’s fed by a whole flock of well-meaning advice sites, books, and family members (or perfect strangers) weighing in on healthy and dangerous choices.
It’s no surprise that the question of xylitol gum’s safety would come up with questions of sushi and which cheeses are okay. There’s great news here! Xylitol-based sugar-free gum is generally considered safe for pregnant women, and it may provide some considerable advantages.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol naturally occurs in birch trees and some fruits and vegetables. It’s officially classified as a sugar alcohol, which can be misleading since it is not alcohol and it’s not properly a sugar. It’s considered a non-nutritive sweetener, so it’s often used in foods for diabetics or other people who need to carefully control their sugar intake. The body does not process it like regular sugar, which is what makes it really useful.
Is Xylitol Safe During Pregnancy?
It’s reasonable to look for expert opinions about the safety of any chemical put into the body. The US Food and Drug Administration and Canada’s Food and Drug regulations have both found xylitol safe for general consumption and for pregnant women after due consideration. Xylitol occurs naturally in foods, which may be comforting to people looking for a non-chemically manufactured sweetener.
So Why Xylitol Gum? What’s all the Fuss?
The real advantage to xylitol gum is it’s potential to fight cavities.
Just like our bodies don’t process xylitol like regular sugar, the bacteria that cause cavities cannot use xylitol for food. The bacteria appear to take in (eat) the xylitol, then starve themselves to death, full of food they cannot process for energy.
Because pregnant women with untreated gum disease have a higher risk of premature delivery and because no one wants to get a filling, much less while pregnant, this cavity-fighting property of xylitol is especially attractive. At least one study has shown that regularly chewing a gum with xylitol in pregnancy helped women with a high amount of cavity-causing bacteria avoid passing that bacteria on to their children when the children were checked between 9-24 months of age.
For pregnant gum chewers, not only is there a broad consensus that xylitol is a safe and appropriate choice, there seem to be some benefits available for those who choose or switch to a sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol. Consider CariFree CTx2 Xylitol Gum for a gum made with your oral health in mind.