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Radiation-induced Xerostomia- Xylitol Gum?

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“Gum containing xylitol has been discovered to have many benefits, including fighting cavities… Xylitol can also help prevent osteoporosis by re-mineralizing tooth enamel…”

I received local radiation to my neck (C5 area) in early 1994. I underwent surgery to remove a lesion caused by my cancer- multiple myeloma. The local radiation was supposed to “clean-up the area.” Meaning it would kill any stray monoclonal protein cells aka MM cells still in the area after the surgical removal of the lesion.

About eight (8) years passed before I figured out that I developed dry mouth aka radiation-induced xerostomia.

Long-story short, I figured out the side effect itself but more importantly, I figured out two important therapies to help you manage your dry mouth.

While acupuncture was my long-term solution to this late stage side effect, the issue of this post is managing dry mouth in the short term. If you are like me, you have no idea about this health problem and figure out something is wrong with your mouth only after some form of damage has occurred.

Maybe a tooth falls out or you notice your gums receding. Both of which you must address immediately. If xerostomia is already causing you injury, my advice can be summed up with one word- xylitol. Both toothpaste and gum.

As you can read from the info linked and excerpted below, xylitol gum has been shown to remineralize tooth enamel, prevent tooth decay, increase bone mineral density to name a few benefits. Please also read up on possible negative side effects as well.

I found that chewing gum sparked my mouth to produce saliva. By purchasing the five pack, pictured above, I found that I could always have a couple of pieces of gum handy- in my car, in my kitchen, etc. And the variety pack provides a variety of flavors so I didn’t get tired of any single flavor.

My long-term therapy for xerostomia was acupuncture. But that process required appointments every couple of weeks for several months. Not a short-term fix…

Do you have radiation-induced xerostomia? If you have questions or comments please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

  1. Radiation-induced Xerostomia- Dry Mouth

Benefits and Harmful effects of Xylitol Gum

Benefits and Harmful effects of Xylitol Gum

Xylitol is another one of those sweeteners that are found in Nature. Gum containing xylitol has been discovered to have many benefits, including fighting cavities, ear infections, yeast infections, and fungal infections. Xylitol can also help prevent osteoporosis by re-mineralizing tooth enamel after eating sugary and acidic foods that damage tooth enamel.

Prevents tooth decay:

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that helps prevent cavities. It does this by reducing the ability of plaque bacteria to make acids and thereby dissolve our enamel and/or dentin (the bony material beneath the enamel) and to stick to teeth.

Thus, chewing gum containing xylitol results in less plaque build-up. It has also been found that the use of xylitol instead of sugar may reduce tooth decay by 40 percent (reference).

Prevents ear infections:

Xylitol helps prevent otitis media (middle ear infections), which are one of the most common childhood diseases.

Prevents yeast infections:

Xylitol has beneficial effects on vaginal epithelial cells and may protect against candida Albicans (yeast) infections by keeping the blood sugar level of these cells low. For women, this means that chewing gum sweetened with xylitol may help prevent yeast infections in general by keeping their blood sugar levels low.

Prevents fungal infections:

Xylitol has been found to be effective against several fungi and yeasts, including Candida Albicans. For example, researchers have found that xylitol inhibits the growth of bacteria and several other microorganisms (reference).

 Re-mineralizes tooth enamel:

Xylitol helps re-mineralize tooth enamel, which can repair microscopic cavities. It does this by stimulating saliva production, which results in the presence of calcium and other minerals that help repair damage to our teeth (reference).

 Helps prevent osteoporosis:

Xylitol has been shown to significantly increase bone mineral density in research studies. It also helps prevent osteoporosis by inducing osteoblasts (cells that form bone) to differentiate into mature, functional osteocytes (bone cells), thus helping prevent the loss of bone mass. For example, it has been shown that xylitol prevents ovariectomy-induced osteopenia in animals (reference).

 May help prevent Alzheimer’s disease:

Xylitol may be helpful for sufferers of Alzheimer’s by stabilizing metabolic processes in the brain, improving memory retention, and preventing neuron loss.

 May slow progression of multiple sclerosis (MS):

A recent study found that xylitol helped slow the development of MS symptoms among people already diagnosed with this condition.

May reduce some symptoms of autism:

Xylitol has been found to inhibit the growth of some bacteria and molds that are associated with autistic spectrum disorders.

xylitol side effects:

xylitol side effects can include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. It is not recommended for people with liver problems because it could worsen the condition. Xylitol should also be avoided by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Side effects may include headaches, fatigue, and weakness if you consume too much xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is considered safe for people with diabetes, as it has a minimal effect on blood glucose levels and insulin secretion. However, too much xylitol can be dangerous for some diabetics. People who have had gastric bypass surgery should not use large amounts of xylitol because the substance can cause problems with the digestive system.

Xylitol side effects can include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. The substance may cause headaches or fatigue in some people who consume too much of it. Xylitol should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding because there is a lack of sufficient data about its effects on developing fetuses and nursing infants.

Xylitol side effects may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. The substance may also cause headaches or fatigue in some people who consume too much of it.

Xylitol should not be used by pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding because there is a lack of sufficient data about its effects on developing fetuses and nursing infants.

Xylitol side effects may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. The substance may cause headaches or fatigue in some people who consume too much of it…

Harmful effects of xylitol:

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is considered safe for people with diabetes, as it has a minimal effect on blood glucose levels and insulin secretion. However, too much xylitol can be dangerous for some diabetics. People who have had gastric bypass surgery should not use large amounts of xylitol because the substance can cause problems with the digestive system.

Xylitol side effects may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. The substance may also cause headaches or fatigue in some people who consume too much of it.

Xylitol should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding because there is a lack of sufficient data about its effects on developing fetuses and nursing infants.”

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