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Da Kine


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POSTED: Saturday, February 21, 2009

CHEW ON THIS

Some chewing gums help bacteria slide away

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, so let's all chew some gum.

To mark the occasion, the Hawaii Dental Hygienists' Association has issued a reminder that local children have among the highest incidents of tooth decay and has reiterated its endorsement of xylitol, a natural sugar used in chewing gum.

Not every chewing gum - look for one with xylitol listed as the first ingredient on the label - contains xylitol. Basically, the association says, xylitol makes bacteria slippery and unable to stick to teeth and cause tooth decay.

Find these products in health-food stores, where you will also find xylitol in granulated form to be used like sugar, in mints, even gel-filled pacifiers.

For children already facing tooth decay, the association encourages early intervention, through a process called re-mineralization which can reverse decay and harden the tooth structure, in addition to fluoride treatments.

A final reminder: Children should see a dentist by their first birthday to put them on the path to a healthy smile.