How much xylitol do you need?
It's disappointing but there is no outstanding authority source that has made a formal recommendation in regard to what amount of xylitol should be considered an appropriate daily dosing for optimal anti-cavity protection.
Because of this short coming, one must evaluate research articles and draw a conclusion from them. Towards this type of review, we've collected information and present it on the following pages.
The other things you need to know.
From the above pages, it should be easy enough for you to determine what level of intake is appropriate for both you and the members of your family.
Beyond this, however, there are a few additional points you need to understand before formulating your regimen. Please take the time to read the remainder of this page so your use of xylitol will be as effective, and uneventful, as possible.
a) Xylitol consumption should be spread out throughout the day.
Research has shown that xylitol produces its maximum benefit when its consumption is divided up into multiple doses spread throughout the day. This type of regimen maximizes the total amount of time the bacteria it affects are exposed to it.
Milgrom (2006) compared the effects of different daily regimens on cariogenic bacteria (the types of bacteria that cause tooth decay). All study participants received the same total quantity of xylitol but broken up into two, three, or four administrations throughout the day. Of these, it was found that the four-dose regimen created the greatest effect.
Milgrom (2006) also compared different daily regimens in regard to the level of anti-cavity protection they created. With each regimen, all study participants received the same total quantity of xylitol although broken up into two, three, or four administrations throughout the day. Of these, it was found that the four-dose regimen provided the greatest benefit.
b) Larger amounts do not create a greater level of protection.
Beyond a certain quantity, consuming yet larger amounts of xylitol will not create a higher degree of anti-cavity protection. Instead, it simply places the person at greater risk for experiencing gastrointestinal side effects.
This plateau effect is revealed by comparing the results of two early xylitol studies carried out in Finland in the 1970's. One of these studies evaluated a consumption level on the order of 67 grams per day whereas the other evaluated a 6.7 gram-per-day exposure. Despite this tenfold difference in consumption, both studies reported a similar reduction in tooth decay rates (on the order of 80 to 85 percent).
c) Side effects are usually dose related.
If a person experiences any type of side effects, they will most likely be gastrointestinal in nature. Diarrhea, flatulence, nausea or stomach cramps, all minor in nature, are the most common. When encountered, a person can usually remedy their problems by reducing their total-daily or per-serving xylitol consumption.
In most cases, the side effects that a person notices will be, at most, just a minor nuisance. However, when initiating xylitol usage, it makes sense to start out with a relatively lower dosing first. Then, over time (1 week or more), edge it up to the point needed for optimal anti-cavity protection. This method may be especially beneficial for young children.
d) It takes time for xylitol's protection to develop.
Optimal anti-cavity effects are not realized immediately. It takes time for xylitol to have its effect on the bacteria that cause cavities. An appropriate regimen needs to have been in place for at least six months, and preferably a year, before maximum cavity-prevention effects can be assumed to exist.