How much anti-cavity protection does xylitol provide?
Using xylitol can be a very good thing.
The degree of anti-cavity protection that the simple act of consuming xylitol on a regular basis can create can be astounding. As proof, take a look the data below.
This information comes from the paper "The Rock Road of Xylitol to its Clinical Application [Makinen (2000)] which provides an overview of many of the studies that have been performed over the decades.
(grams per day)
in tooth decay.
|Isokangas (1988)||7 to 10||59 to 84%|
|Makinen (1996)||up to 8.5||80%|
|Makinen (1995)||up to 10.7||up to 73%|
|Makinen (1996)||up to 10.7||up to 65%|
|Kandelman (1988)||up to 20||58 to 62%|
|Alanen (2000)||5||50 to 60|
|Isokangas (1988)||7 to 10||30 to 57%|
|Kandelman (1990)||1 to 3.9||52%|
|Scheinin (1985)||14 to 20||37 to 45%|
In all of these studies, just consuming xylitol products in an appropriate fashion resulted in a reduction in tooth decay rates of at least 45%. And in the vast majority of studies significantly more (even in excess of 80%).
That level of results, in terms of public health benefits, places the importance of xylitol on par with fluoride. (Note: Neither of these methods is exclusive but instead can be used in combination with each other.)
It takes time to reach an optimal level of protection.
One might assume that the figures in the table above indicate the type of decay-rate reduction that they might expect during that time frame when they are actively using xylitol. Well, that's not exactly accurate.
The type of protection that xylitol creates is due to its effect on the bacteria that cause tooth decay, and this effect takes time to develop.
In order to reach a maximum level of cavity protection, one must continue with their daily regimen for at least six months or so. This is referred to as the "long-term, habitual consumption" of xylitol.
Xylitol's other amazing benefits.
Besides being able to drastically lower a person's decay rate, xylitol also provides some surprising additional benefits.
Studies have shown that even if a person terminates their consumption of xylitol, the anti-cavity benefits that it has created will linger on for some months, possibly even years.
If mothers use xylitol during the right time frame, their children can share in the preventive effect that her consumption has created.