The big oral health companies are behind the times.
The oral health benefits of xylitol have been known to scientists for over half a century. The first xylitol-sweetened chewing gum was created and sold in the United States in 1975. Since then, xylitol gum has become popular and widespread throughout Europe and Asia. Dental schools in the United States have really started to take notice of the cavity-crushing effects of xylitol over the last 10-15 years.
Despite all that, you may be shocked to learn that xylitol in gum, mints, and toothpaste is incredibly hard to find on the shelves of your local grocery store today. I was so frustrated when I learned about xylitol 15 years ago that I banked my life savings on founding a business dedicated to getting the word out.
So, why haven’t the giants of American oral health products taken notice?
Reason #1 - Xylitol Is Not Cheap
As a natural product produced by plants, xylitol is a bit trickier to access than the lab-synthesized, artificially-concocted sweeteners that are more commonly used in the gums in the checkout aisle.
Xylitol is produced naturally by a wide variety of plants, including strawberries and raspberries, but in pretty small amounts. It’s easiest to harvest xylitol from birch bark and corn, but even then the process is difficult and a little pricey.
As a result, xylitol carries a hefty price tag compared to the other, less-good-for-you sweeteners available to a big, international corporation. At Epic, that’s never really slowed us down (you almost always have to pay a little more to get higher quality). On the other hand a big corporation that’s focused on cutting corners wherever possible to pad profits isn’t going to love spending more for something that won’t benefit them directly.
Reason #2 - Information on Xylitol Isn’t Widely Known… in America.
Did you know that xylitol has been put to work by dental professionals and in chewing gums and mints in Europe for nearly 3 decades?
I first heard about the cavity-crushing, bacterial-bashing power of xylitol in my late 20’s, and that was nearly 15 years ago.
For whatever reason, the American public simply hasn’t been educated about the proven benefits of xylitol for oral health. Perhaps it’s because our country is so large, and the way xylitol works to better your smile is a bit complicated and hard to teach. Perhaps it’s because dental schools across the country only started taking xylitol seriously over the last decade.
Regardless, this makes xylitol a bit of a hard sell. Why pay more for a sweetener that many people won’t recognize or notice? Why go to all the cost and effort to educate people about something that can improve their lives just a bit, when you can just as easily make money selling a substandard product to people who don’t know better?
The answer, of course, is that it’s a better way of helping people. That’s something worth fighting for. Of course, we don’t really expect the more cynical-minded businesses out there to really understand that, but they don’t really need the help, do they?
Help Us Get the Word Out
It hasn’t been easy, fighting to get the incredible news of xylitol out to so many. To be frank, I don’t really think we can take much in the way of credit for the success of Epic.
Truly, we owe it all to customers like you who are keeping us in business, helping us recognize when we’ve let you down so we can do better, and, most of all, simply sharing a piece or a pack of Epic Gum & Mints with your friends and family.
Our marketing budget is about the size of whatever those big companies are spending just on their Arbor Day specials, so we know that we live and die by the word of mouth from dedicated customers like you.
It’s been a great journey so far, and I’m looking forward to many more years bashing bacteria baddies with our Epic family.