Xylitol tastes sweet but, unlike sugar, it doesn't cause tooth decay. It reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva and also acts against some bacteria that cause ear infections. It's widely used in "sugar-free" chewing gums, mints, and other candies.
In the US, products that contain xylitol are allowed to state that they reduce the risk for cavities. People also use xylitol to prevent tooth plaque, ear infection, dry mouth, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
Xylitol can be toxic to dogs. If your dog eats a product that contains xylitol, take them to a veterinarian immediately.
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