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Xylitol Research and Evidence

Xylitol is a non-sugar sweetener extracted from the birch tree. It is a five-carbon polyol that has effectively demonstrated itself to be cariogenic, by its action of neutralizing plaque acidity on teeth and repairing tooth enamel. Hence, it is also called the “magic bullet.”

The major production of xylitol goes to the pharmaceutical and oral hygiene industries and to confectionary manufacturers. It has 30% less calories compared to table sugar (calorific value of xylitol is 2.4 kcal/g, while that of sugar is 4 kcal/g) and is used in different food products for children like chewing gum, candies, gelatin, and in lozenges, toothpaste, and mouth rinses.

Xylitol and Dental Caries

Clinical trials on xylitol show that it plays a major role in prevention of dental caries in babies and teenaged children and in the fetus through the mother. Use of xylitol chewing gum is directly related to reduction of dental caries. Moreover, xylitol also reduces the s. mutans transmission from mother to infant.

Another research on children has found that xylitol candy, pops, ice, gums, puddings, and cookie help in arresting dental caries. Follow-up studies five years later showed that xylitol gum resulted in reduction of caries by 59% against no gum use.

Trials conducted in Finland, a major producer of xylitol, proved that children of xylitol-treated mothers’ had lower levels of s. mutans than those treated with fluoride varnish or chlorhexidine.

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