What is XYLITOL?

What is XYLITOL?

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that helps reduce tooth decay, eliminate bad breath, and relieve dry mouth. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine.

Xylitol is widely used as a sugar substitute and in “sugar-free” chewing gums, mints, and other candies. However, sorbitol is the most commonly used sweetener in sugarless gums because it is less expensive than xylitol and easier to make into commercial products.

In the mouth, most sugars break down and create an acidic environment which promotes tooth decay. Xylitol does not break down like other sugars so bacteria cannot use xylitol to grow. Over time, xylitol can actually inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth. This decrease in oral bacteria can reduce tooth decay and help eliminate bad breath.

The benefits of xylitol don’t stop there. Xylitol can help reduce the amount of insulin required to regulate blood-sugar levels in diabetics. As a medicine, xylitol is used to prevent middle ear infections (otitis media) in young children, and as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes.

Dog owners should know that xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even when the relatively small amounts from candies are eaten. If your dog eats a product that contains xylitol, it is important to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately.

Dr. Sam Halabo, dentist Chula Vista, CA is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Graduate Dentistry and is well known for his involvement in the continuing dental education of professionals. He is a true believer in practicing what he preaches, sharing his knowledge and giving back to the dental community. He is the former clinical director of the University of California at San Diego homeless clinic. His emphasis is on CAD/CAM dentistry and working in the ideal practice. He is a member of the ADA, AGD, California Dental Association, San Diego County Dental Association, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He has been a clinical research associate evaluator for more than 14 years. Dr. Halabo has published a number of articles for dental professionals as well as his local community. His dental practice is located at: 239 F Street; Chula Vista, CA 91910. He can also be reached at (619) 427-0810, or at smilesbydrsam.com.