XYLITOL

OTHER NAME(S):

Birch Sugar, E967, Meso-Xylitol, Méso-Xylitol, Pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol, Sucre de Bouleau, Xilitol, Xylit, Xylite, Xylo-pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

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.

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.

Xylitol is added to some chewing gums and other oral care products to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.

Xylitol is sometimes included in tube feeding formulas as a source of energy.

Xylitol is addwed to water for use in nasal irrigation for people with sinus problems.

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.

How does it work?

Xylitol tastes sweet but, unlike sugar, it is not converted in the mouth to acids that cause tooth decay. It reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva and also acts against some bacteria that cause ear infections.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Likely Effective for

  • Preventing dental caries (tooth decay). Use of xylitol-containing products such as foods, chewing gum, candies, and toothpaste that provide 1-20 grams of xylitol per day can reduce the rate of cavity formation in both adults and children 5 years and older. Xylitol products appear to be more effective than products containing sorbitol for preventing cavities. But some brands of chewing gum contain xylitol in only milligram amounts, which is far less than the gram doses that prevent tooth decay. It’’s not known if xylitol helps prevent cavities in children less than 5 years-old

Possibly Effective for

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Dental plaque. A solution containing xylitol doesn’t reduce plaque in children. However, it is not known if other xylitol products might be more effective.
  • Sinus problems. Some people use a squeeze bottle or special equipment to rinse out their sinuses. Usually these bottles use salt in water (saline). Replacing xylitol for saline seems to reduce symptoms, like a stuffy nose, better than saline itself.
  • Prevention of dry mouth.
  • As a sugar substitute for people with diabetes.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of xylitol for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Xylitol is safe in the amounts found in foods. It seems safe as a medicine for most adults in amounts up to about 50 grams per day. It also seems safe when used in water to clear the sinuses. However, avoid taking higher doses by mouth. There is some concern that extremely high doses for long periods of time (more than three years) can cause tumors. Xylitol can cause diarrhea and intestinal gas. It is probably safe for children as a medicine in amounts up to 20 grams per day.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of xylitol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for XYLITOL Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULTS

APPLIED INSIDE THE MOUTH:

  • For prevention of cavities in adults and children: A wide range of doses has been used. Typically, doses are from 7-20 grams per day divided into three to five doses, usually given as candies or chewing gum. It is recommended that xylitol gum be chewed for 10-20 minutes after meals.
CHILDREN

APPLIED INSIDE THE MOUTH:
  • For preventing cavities: A wide range of doses has been used in children 5 years and older. Typically, doses are from 7-20 grams per day divided into three to five doses, usually given as candies or chewing gum. It is recommended that xylitol gum be chewed for 10-20 minutes after meals. Sucking on candies providing 5-8 grams of xylitol also seems beneficial. It’s too soon to know if xylitol helps prevent cavities in children less than 5 years-old.
  • For reducing the risk of ear infections in preschoolers: Total daily doses of 8.4-10 grams of xylitol in chewing gum, lozenges, or syrup given in five divided doses after meals.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Alanzi A, Soderling E, Varghese A, Honkala E. Xylitol chewing gums on the market: Do they prevent caries? Oral Health Prev Dent 2016;14:459-466. View abstract.
  • Azarpazhooh A, Lawrence HP, Shah PS. Xylitol for preventing acute otitis media in children up to 12 years of age. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016 Aug 3;(8):CD007095. View abstract.
  • Azarpazhooh A, Limeback H, Lawrence HP, Shah PS. Xylitol for preventing acute otitis media in children up to 12 years of age. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011Nov 9;(11):CD007095. View abstract.
  • Cocco F, Carta G, Cagetti MG, Strohmenger L, Lingström P, Campus G. The caries preventive effect of 1-year use of low-dose xylitol chewing gum. A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial in high-caries-risk adults. Clin Oral Investig 2017 Mar 16. View abstract.
  • Crapo PA. Use of alternative sweeteners in diabetic diet. Diabetes Care 1988;11:174-82. View abstract.
  • Everything added to food in the US. US Food and Drug Administration, November 2011. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/ucm115326.htm
  • Gales MA, Nguyen TM. Sorbitol compared with xylitol in prevention of dental caries. Ann Pharmacother 2000;34:98-100. View abstract.
  • Gales MA, Nguyen TM. Sorbitol compared with xylitol in prevention of dental caries. Ann Pharmacother 2000;34:98-100. View abstract.
  • Janakiram C, Deepan Kumar CV, Joseph J. Xylitol in preventing dental caries: A systematic review and meta-analyses. J Nat Sci Biol Med 2017;8:16-21. View abstract.
  • Lee B, Sue D. Xylitol for prevention of dental caries. DICP 1989;23:691-2.
  • Lin L, Tang X, Wei J, Dai F, Sun G. Xylitol nasal irrigation in the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. Am J Otolaryngol 2017;38:383-389. View abstract.
  • Makinen KK. Can the pentitol-hexitol theory explain the clinical observations made with xylitol? Med Hypotheses 2000;54:603-13. View abstract.
  • Makinen KK. The rocky road of xylitol to its clinical application. J Dent Res 2000;79:1352-5.
  • Marghalani AA, Guinto E, Phan M, Dhar V, Tinanoff. Effectiveness of xylitol in reducing dental caries in children. Pediatr Dent 2017;39:103-110. View abstract.
  • Merck Index, 12th ed. Whitehouse Station: Merck Research Laboratories, 1996.
  • Moyer VA; US Preventive Services Task Force. Prevention of dental caries in children from birth through age 5 years: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Pediatrics 2014;133:1102-11. View abstract.
  • Rethman MP, Beltrán-Aguilar ED, Billings RJ, et al.; American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs Expert Panel on Nonfluoride Caries-Preventive Agents. Nonfluoride caries-preventive agents: executive summary of evidence-based clinical recommendations. J Am Dent Assoc 2011;142(9):1065-1071. View abstract.
  • Riley P, Moore D, Ahmed F, Sharif MO, Worthington HV. Xylitol-containing products for preventing dental caries in children and adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015;(3):CD010743. View abstract.
  • Simões Moraes R, Modesto A, Regina Netto Dos Santos K, Drake D. The effect of 1% chlorhexidine varnish and 40% xylitol solution on Streptococcus mutans and plaque accumulation in children. Pediatr Dent 2011;33:484-90. View abstract.
  • Soderling E, Isokangas P, Pienihakkinen K, Tenovuo J. Influence of maternal xylitol consumption on acquisition of mutans streptococci by infants. J Dent Res 2000;79:882-7. View abstract.
  • Tapiainen T, Luotonen L, Kontiokari T, et al. Xylitol administered only during respiratory infections failed to prevent acute otitis media. Pediatrics 2002;109:E19. View abstract.
  • Thorild I, Lindau B, Twetman S. Long-term effect of maternal xylitol exposure on their children's caries prevalence. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent 2012;13:305-7. View abstract.
  • Uhari M, Kontiokari T, Koskela M, Niemela M. Xylitol chewing gum in prevention of acute otitis media: double-blind, randomized trial. BMJ 1996;313:1180-4. View abstract.
  • Uhari M, Kontiokari T, Niemela M. A novel use of xylitol sugar in preventing acute otitis media. Pediatrics 1998;102:879-84. View abstract.
  • Weissman JD, Fernandez F, Hwang PH. Xylitol nasal irrigation in the management of chronic rhinosinusitis: a pilot study. Laryngoscope 2011;121:2468-72. View abstract.

More Resources for XYLITOL

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.