Gums that contain xylitol include Epic, B-Fresh, Richochet, Spry, Xylichew and Omnii, according to Epic Dental. Xylitol, a natural sugar, helps prevent cavities, states the California Dental Association. To have this effect, a gum's main ingredient must be xylitol.
Although xylitol is a sweetener, bacteria are not able to use it for food, states the CDA. Over time, this reduces the number of decay-causing bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, in the mouth. Chewing gum with significant amounts of xylitol, therefore, helps prevent cavities. The sweetener appears to be particularly useful for individuals with moderate or high decay risk.
In addition, cavity-causing bacteria are often transmitted from mothers to their newborns, says the CDA. However, if the mothers use xylitol frequently, the spread is limited.
Gum and mints are the most common products containing xylitol, the CDA reports. People interested in preventing decay should consume 5 grams of the sweetener each day. Significantly larger amounts have a laxative effect. The recommended xylitol dosage typically translates to three to five daily servings of gum or mints with the ingredient. Gum should be chewed for a minimum of five minutes, while mints simply dissolve in the mouth.
Xylitol is found naturally in plants, according to Xylitol.org. For commercial use, the sweetener is obtained from cobs left over from corn harvests or trees.