Could These SWEETS Really Prevent Tooth Decay?

They sound too good to be true, but are these sweets the holy grail for parents worried about their children's teeth?

One company thinks so. It has launched a new range of sugar-free sweets that it claims will actually prevent tooth decay.

Of course, many sweets already contain the sugar-substitute aspartame, but this has always attracted concerns about potential side effects.

But Peppersmith's tingz – which come in strawberry and vanilla and orange and mandarin flavours - are billed as 'sugar-free and good for teeth' because they are made with 100 per cent xylitol, a natural ingredient derived from birch trees that is a polyol, or sugar alcohol.

The substance, which tastes similar to sugar but has 40 per cent fewer calories and a lower GI, is widely approved in the medical industry as an aid against tooth decay.

On their website, Peppersmith say that xylitol's ability to reduce plaque and tooth decay has been demonstrated in 'hundreds of clinical and field studies'. It reduces the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth by 90 per cent, they say.

"At the moment, xylitol-containing confectionery is endorsed by over 15 major dental associations worldwide, including the British Dental Health Foundation and the FDI (Federation Dental International)," they say.

The British Dental Association inspected the Peppersmith product and endorsed the brand's claims that eating tingz with Xylitol is good for dental health, helps reduce plaque, reduces the risk of tooth decay and helps maintain healthier teeth.

Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation said xylitol 'may be the biggest advance against caries since fluoride'.

He said that in Scandinavia, where free xylitol is regularly given to children in schools and nurseries, teeth tend to be better. He says he uses xylitol every day.

He said: "I have some xylitol mints in my desk drawer. If you look at the evidence it is overwhelming that xylitol works.

"If a child gets it a couple of times a day, they will get less decay."

So how does it work?

Peppersmith say that tooth decay starts off with bacteria in the mouth called Streptococcus Mutans.

"These bacteria form the plaque that builds on teeth and in turn causes decay," they say.

"When you eat, the sugars in food give these bacteria energy, and they multiply and start producing acids.

"When the pH in the mouth eventually drops below a pH of 5.5, the surface of the tooth enamel starts dissolving. This same process happens after every snack or meal and if it continues, eventually the surface of the tooth will collapse resulting in decay.

"When you eat xylitol it stops this acid attack because the Streptococcus Mutans can't ferment xylitol and in fact the number of bacteria can fall by as much as 90 per cent.

"The result is that the acids aren't formed and the pH doesn't drop. Xylitol also affects the enzymes in the bacteria meaning they don't stick to the teeth as well. This also means plaque is easier to remove."

You can buy them from the Peppersmith website, nine bags containing 25 sweets in each cost £8.50. Delivery in the UK is free. For more information visit