• What is xylitol?

    Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar compound (a “sugar alcohol”) that can help to prevent tooth decay on the order of 60%.

    Its sweetness level is about the same as regular table sugar (sucrose), which means in granular form it can be used in the same way, and quantity, to sweeten foods and beverages.

    Manufacturers use xylitol to sweeten specialty products targeted for dentally-conscious consumers. These include chewing gum, mints, candies and even toothpaste.

  • Xylitol
    Prevents
    Cavities
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    Xylitol
    Science

    How does it work?

    Xylitol inhibits the growth of the kinds of bacteria that cause cavities due to the fact that they can't use it as food.

    That means, over the long term, a person's regular consumption of xylitol makes it harder and harder for decay-causing bacteria to survive. As a result, a person will experience less dental plaque formation and, ultimately, lower levels of tooth-damaging acid production.

    FYI: The regular use of xylitol by mothers will favorably affect the types of bacteria that she passes on to her child, thus helping to place them at lower risk for tooth decay too.

  • Xylitol sources.

    Xylitol can be bought in granular form. And, for the most part, it can be used at the table or in the kitchen just like regular sugar (sucrose).

    You'll also find specialty products such as xylitol-sweetened chewing gum and mints.

    Other sources can be specialty candies, lozenges, chocolate bars and syrups, or dental products such as mouth rinse and toothpaste.

    FYI: When choosing a brand, look at the product's list of ingredients. The best ones usually have xylitol listed first.

  • How much do you need?

    For adults, a total intake of 6 to 10 grams of xylitol per day is all that's needed to create optimal anti-cavity protection. Small children require even less.

    FYI: The way you consume your xylitol is important.

    1) A person's daily amount should be divided up into 4 or more separate doses (exposures), distributed throughout the day.

    2) The duration of each exposure is important. Look for products or consumption methods that help to create an oral exposure that lasts at least 5 minutes or more.

  • Xylitol
    Prevents
    Cavities
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    Side
    Effects

    Safety.

    Xylitol has been approved for use by a number of agencies, throughout the world. This includes the FDA. It's usually categorized as a “food additive.”

    FYI: Xylitol is not safe for pets.

    Side effects.

    At the levels needed for cavity prevention, the side effects of xylitol consumption are usually few and just minor. Some people may experience gas, a laxative effect or possibly diarrhea.

    These problems are usually managed easily just by adjusting a person's dosing schedule or levels.

 

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