Crickette Inserto, D.M.D., of You & Your Teeth Dental Clinic reveals the new findings on the benefits of this five-carbon sugar: “Xylitol creates an alkaline environment that neutralizes the pH level of the saliva and prevents the development of cavities, inhibiting plaque formation. It is non-fermentable and cannot be converted to acids by oral bacteria.” Originally an additive in chewing gum, Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in the fibers of various berries, corn husks, oats, and mushrooms. In other countries, it is included in toothpastes and mouthwashes, and also comes in the form of nasal spray. A study published in Pediatrics shows that Xylitol has also been proven to prevent ear infections.
Currently, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that Xylitol-containing products be labeled clearly to further evaluate its therapeutic value. Dr. Inserto cautionsthat too much may cause diarrhea, but it’s generally safe for kids if given in proper doses.