Xylitol is a sweetener that occurs naturally. It can be found, for instance, in berries, fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, and some trees. Our own bodies produce up to 15 grams of xylitol from other food sources using established energy pathways. Xylitol is not a strange or artificial substance, but a normal part of every day metabolism.

Because xylitol is molecularly different from “sugar”, most bacteria in the mouth are unable to use it. Because the cavity causing bacteria in the mouth are unable to ferment xylitol in their metabolism, their growth is reduced. The number of acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90%. Xylitol also inhibits the bacteria from “sticking” to the tooth and the amount of plaque decreases.

In studies of xylitol it is shown that 4-12 grams of xylitol per day is the correct daily amount to be effective. If used only occasionally, or in too small an amount, there will be little dental benefit. Because the benefits of xylitol are so compelling, our office has started carrying xylitol sweetened mints. A bottle of 520 pieces is $15, and a quantity of 8-9 mints a day would be in the ideal range of xylitol per day. We have mint and fruit flavors.