Dental education at a crossroads

Dentists have proven themselves time and time again to be dynamic innovators in the medical field. From Dr. Horace Wells, the pioneer of anesthesia, to Dr. William Rollins, who revolutionized radiation protection, there is a rich history of dentists on the cutting edge. The artisanship inherent in dentistry pushes modernization. All of this is driven by the ideal of comprehensive patient-centered care. However, in a field entrenched in tradition, new technologies can seem disruptive. Often we are slow to integrate them, especially in an educational setting. Though there are countless factors in evolving face of dentistry, one consistent challenge remains.

Xylitol and health

Toothbrush with chewing gum and sprig of mintXylitol was introduced to the world of dentistry in the late 20th century. But even before that, it was used as a sweetener in many parts of the world. In dentistry, many studies have shown potential benefits of xylitol in caries prevention and plaque formation. Streptococcus mutans, a type of caries-causing bacteria, requires sugar to proliferate. But studies such as this one have shown that it cannot use xylitol for energy production and will eventually die when exposed to it. Xylitol also weakens the adhesion of plaque-causing microorganisms and thereby helps in preventing plaque formation.