Questions about Xylitol and how it promotes dental health

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How is xylitol good for teeth?

Tooth decay starts with harmful bacteria in the mouth. Sugary foods give these bacteria energy to multiply and produce acids that dissolve the enamel of the tooth and cause decay. Xylitol has the opposite effect, inhibiting their growth, killing the bacteria (they can fall by as much as 90%) and preventing acid attacks.

It also reduces the bacteria’s ability to stick to your teeth so plaque is easier to remove. You can find out more about how xylitol works here.

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How do I make sure I get all the benefits of xylitol?

Dentists recommend you should have at least 5g of xylitol a day.  Importantly, this should be split into a few servings, ideally after each meal or snack (when there’s risk of acid attack).  You should also try and keep the mint or gum in your mouth for at least a minute so the xylitol has enough time in contact with your teeth.

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How much xylitol is in your mints/gum?

Each mint contains 0.55g of xylitol (13.8g per pack) and each piece of gum contains just over 1g (11g per pack) so you’d need to have about 9 mints or 5 pieces of gum per day to get the benefits.

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Isn't all chewing gum good for teeth?

Yes and no. Sugar free gum helps promote saliva, which in turn helps neutralise the mouth’s pH. 

This is important because every time you eat and drink, the bacteria in your mouth feeds on sugars and produces acids, leading to decay.

The difference between our 100% xylitol gum and regular sugar-free gum is that xylitol actively reduces the bacteria that cause these acids in the first place, and so prevents problems before they start.

Some sugar-free gum does contain xylitol but usually in very small amounts and the important thing with xylitol is that you need to have 5g a day to get the dental benefits.  To put that in perspective, you’d only need 5 pieces of our gum per day, but you’d need multiple packs of regular sugar-free gum as it contains lower levels of xylitol.

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How can mints be good for your teeth?

We know it’s quite hard to get your head around the idea that mints can be good for teeth when most are still made with sugar (which feeds the bacteria that cause acids and plaque).  But mints made with 100% xylitol (like ours) have the opposite effect and actually reduce this harmful bacteria, preventing acids and plaque.  It’s important that you suck our mints and try to keep them in your mouth for at least a minute to make sure the xylitol has enough time in contact with your teeth.

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You make some pretty big dental health claims. How do I know you're not just making stuff up?

The benefits of xylitol have been scientifically proven for nearly half a century. It has been the subject of over 600 clinical studies which overwhelmingly demonstrate its ability to reduce plaque.

We’ve also sent all our products to be assessed by the British Dental Health Foundation. Not only did they give them their seal of approval but they also accredited the claim that “Eating Peppersmith with xylitol helps reduce plaque and the risk of tooth decay”.

We work closely with lots of dental health professionals who endorse our products, but if you want to get into the science of how xylitol works for yourself, click here.

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Does eating your mints and gum mean I don't have to bother brushing my teeth?

Absolutely not. Our mints & gum are very useful tools to help keep your teeth healthy but you definitely still need to brush at least twice daily, use a good mouthwash and regularly visit your dentist and hygienist. You can find out more about how to look after your teeth here.

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How do I know that xylitol is safe to eat?

Xylitol is a completely safe ingredient for humans. JEFCA (The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives) has put it in the safest possible category a food ingredient can be in. 

Remember though, our four legged doggy friends can't eat Peppersmith or xylitol.

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What about the laxative effects? How much xylitol is OK to eat in one day?

Xylitol is a polyol (a family of sugar alternatives) and as with all polyols, “excessive consumption” can cause a laxative effect. The good news though is that 25% to 50% of xylitol is absorbed in the intestine so it’s much better tolerated than some other sugar alternatives. So the big question is, how much is “excessive”? Well it completely depends on the individual as we are all different. Research has shown that the tolerance for xylitol can be up to 70g for adults and 40g for kids. To put this into perspective a whole pack of mints has 13.8g of xylitol so will be well tolerated by the vast majority of people (there are those that have a sensitivity to xylitol but even they can normally build a tolerance over time).

With all foods though moderation is best and you get all the dental benefits from 5g so there’s no need to eat whole packs at a time. The ideal way to eat them is to have a few mints or pieces of gum at regular intervals throughout the day.

If you’re concerned as you have other food sensitivities you can start off with lower daily amounts of xylitol and increase them as your tolerance will increase over time.

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If xylitol is so great, why isn't it everywhere?

Good question. Xylitol is massively popular in other countries, particularly in Scandinavia and Japan where they have a more progressive approach to dental care. The UK is a bit behind on a few things and most manufacturers still opt for ingredients like sugar, sorbitol or aspartame because they are much cheaper. For example, over 80% of mints eaten in this country are made of sugar which is crazy as they just create more bacteria in your mouth and damage your teeth.

It’s quite hard for people to get their head around the fact that there is a sugar alternative out there that is actively good for teeth but the good news is more and more people now know about xylitol.

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Do your products help with dry mouth conditions?

We hear from lots of dry mouth sufferers who say our products (particularly our lemon mints) help promote saliva and relieve their dry mouth.  People who suffer from dry mouth conditions are also more at risk of tooth decay (because they do not produce saliva to neutralise acids) so they can benefit even more from using our products because of the extra protection they provide. You can read lots more about it here.

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What ages are your products suitable for?

Our products are suitable for ages 3 and up. While lots of kids eat our mints it’s up to parents what age they think their children should have gum. The good news is that even babies and very young children can benefit from xylitol. You can read about it here.

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Is xylitol potentially harmful to dogs?

There are lots of foods that are completely safe for people but can potentially be harmful for dogs including grapes, chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, garlic, avocados and xylitol. How it affects them depends on the amount they’ve eaten and the breed and weight of the dog but our message is definitely; xylitol is beneficial to people but can potentially be harmful to dogs so please don’t feed them our products or leave them around where they can eat them.

We are all dog lovers in the office and completely understand why this is such an emotive issue. We have written some more info on it here.

Please remember if your dog has eaten some of our stuff and you’re concerned, we recommend taking them to the vet just in case.

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Xylitol sounds really artificial. What is it?

Lots of people think xylitol must be artificial because it has an “X” in it but it’s actually a naturally derived sugar alternative (‘Xyl’ is Greek for wood – think ‘xylophone’) and can be found in lots of living things.  We source ours from beech trees and vegetables.

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Where does your xylitol come from?

The xylitol that we use is from beech trees and starchy vegetables. You may have heard some concerns around the provenance of xylitol, particularly xylitol sourced from genetically modified Chinese corn cobs.  We always aim to use the highest quality and most sustainably sourced ingredients and can confirm that all our xylitol is sourced from European suppliers with very strict sustainability policies and GMO free guarantees.

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I am a Dental Health professional / I am really interested in the science. How do I find out more?

We have a whole section for dentists, hygienists, pharmacists and other health professionals here.

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I’m a dentist/hygienist, where can I get hold of some samples?

Visit our section for dental health professionals for all the details.

Other Ingredients and Manufacturing Processes

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Aren’t sugar free things normally full of artificial ingredients?

There are some weird and wonderful things used in some sugar free products but not ours. You can look at all our ingredients here but rest assured we use no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives or aspartame.

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Are all your products suitable for vegans and vegetarians?

Yes everything we make is approved by the Vegetarian Society to be suitable for both Vegetarians and Vegans.

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Are your products suitable for diabetics, coeliacs and nut allergy sufferers?

Yes. They are all sugar free and low GI (so much better for diabetics than sugary sweets). They are also gluten-free, soya free and nut free. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee though that there may not be tiny traces of soya in the factory where they are made.

Are your products suitable if I’m on a low carb/ketogenic diet?

In principle, yes, but it will depend on your specific diet requirements and we’re not able to give specific recommendations. The xylitol that we use to sweeten our products is a sugar alcohol (or polyol) and these are a type of carbohydrate. It’s best to check our nutritionals for the carbohydrate content and you can then see whether it is suitable for your low carb diet. You can find this information on our product pages or on the side of the packs.

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Can I swallow your gum?

While our gum base is completely inert and will naturally find its way through your digestive tract and out the other side, we would always recommend you find a bin to put your gum in once you’ve finished chewing. The seven years to digest thing is a myth however in very rare cases it can cause an obstruction so we wouldn’t advise you swallow it.

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Where are your products made?

Our products are all made in Finland, which is undisputedly the home of xylitol. We still use the same factory we used when we founded Peppersmith in 2009 and we can absolutely confirm that Finland is best place in the world to make and learn about xylitol. You can read about the history of xylitol in Finland here.

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What is your sustainability policy?

We are a company who really care about how we do business and you can read about our company values here. We promise to always do the best we can to make our products good for you without being bad for the environment. That goes for our ingredients and packaging through to our supply chain. If you want to find out more about our sustainable packaging, click here. If you have any specific questions get in touch and we’ll be happy to let you know how we do things. 

Information about buying our products?

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Where can I buy your products?

You can buy our products from our webshop, or you can pick us up at plenty of retailers including Sainsbury's Local, Morrisons, Waitrose, Holland and Barrett, Booths, Whole Foods Market and many more independent stores. 

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I want to try your products, where do I start?

If you can’t find a pack in your local shop, the best thing to do is order a box of twelve from our webshop. You can get combinations of mints and/or gum so you can see which ones you like best. Amazon and other online retailers also sell in smaller quantities if you just want to try one pack.

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Can I buy your products from outside the UK?

At the moment we only ship products within the UK. We're working hard to bring our Peppersmith products to countries all around the world.

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Can I stock your products in my shop/cafe or dental practice?

Of course, just email hello@peppersmith.co.uk if you are interested in stocking us. Or call us on 02087882080. 

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Can I have some free samples?

If you are a dental practice, pharmacy or retailer, please head this way and we can help you out with samples and info for patients/customers.

We don’t send free samples to individual consumers but if you sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Instagram, we often have special offers and competitions.

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I've ordered something from the webshop, is it possible to change it/check on its progress?

Of course, give us a call on 020 8788 2080 or email hello@peppersmith.co.uk and we’ll try to help.  Unfortunately, we can’t amend an order if it’s already been sent out but if you find you’ve ordered the wrong thing, let us know and we’ll try to help.

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What is your privacy policy?

We promise we’ll never share your details with anyone and if you want to get into the detail, you can read our T&Cs and privacy policy here.

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