Shipping &
Ordering Info


Squigle's Toothpastes

Health Articles

Contact Us



Xylitol Frequently Asked Questions
Nature's Provision

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that is found in fruit (raspberries, strawberries, plums) vegetables (corn, endive), mushrooms and the human body produces xylitol in its daily metabolic process. In practice xylitol is manufactured by processing birch wood or corn cobs, extracting the xylan and reacting it with water to produce xylose ("wood sugar") then H2 (hydrogen) is added to make Xylitol which is a polyol.

Where and when was xylitol discovered?

The wood sugar xylose was hydrogenated to produce xylitol in 1891 by the German chemist Emil Fischer. Xylitol has been used since the 1960s in the Soviet Union, Germany, Switzlerland and Japan as the preferred sweetener in diabetic diets. Xylitol is also used intravenously for patients with impaired glucose tolerance (i.e. trauma, burn, diabetic & insulin resistance). Xylitol's dental benefits were first studied in Finland. In the early 70s researchers at Turku University showed xylitol could prevent dental caries.

How is Xylitol different than other sweeteners?

Xylitol is a "sugar alcohol". Chemically, sucrose (sugar), fructose, sorbitol and glucose all have six carbon atoms in their molecules. Xylitol has five carbon atoms in its molecules. Six carbon molecules are easily digested by oral bacteria but a five carbon molecule has strong chemical bonds that are very difficult for bacteria to digest. So when xylitol is consumed, these bacteria populations starve out and decline. This is one way that xylitol helps prevent plaque and cavities. Xylitol has the same sweetness as sugar but with 40% less calories. Xylitol's functional properties are similar to sugar, it dissolves slower at cold temperatures but faster than sugar above 86 degrees F.

How does Xylitol work to help teeth?

Xylitol works in 3 major ways. The first way is explained above and is due to its strong chemical molecular structure so cavity and plaque forming oral bacteria such as streptococcus mutans can not feed on it.
The second way xylitol works is by raising the oral pH to more alkaline. When the streptococcus mutans bacteria are fed by sugar, they produce acids (lower the pH below 7) that slowly but surely weaken the protective tooth enamel. Once pockets of the enamel are gone, cavities begin to form. Since these bacteria can not use xylitol, they decrease and the oral pH stays higher (above 7 is more alkaline). Instead of being destroyed in an acid pH, the tooth enamel in an alkaline pH tend to form, this is why xylitol helps to remineralize tooth enamel.
The third way that xylitol works is by stimulating saliva flow. Saliva is the mouth's natural defense against invaders like 6 carbon sugars but when too much sugar is ingested too often, the saliva can not defend the teeth because of the acid pH created by sugar usage. Again, saliva containing xylitol is an effective substance to decrease bad bacteria and promote the growth of tooth enamel. Xylitol is an amazing therapeutic sweetener.

In what proportions should I use xylitol in comparison to sugar?

Xylitol has the same sweetness as sugar and should be used in one to one proportions to sugar. Where one cup of sugar is called for simply use a cup of xylitol instead for healthier recipes.

How much and how often should I take xylitol (gum or mints) to enjoy the many dental benefits?

Chew one or two pieces of gum or take 2-4 mints four to six times daily after meals, snacks and before bed time. After eating or snacks, rinse your mouth with water, then use xylitol gum/mints.
Studies have proven that a minimum of four times a day gives very good results.

Can xylitol help my longevity?

Good oral health promotes good over all health. Using xylitol is an excellent way to ensure you keep your teeth throughout your life. In addition xylitol maintains glutathione activity which aids in preventing damage done by free radicals. By keeping blood glucose steady, xylitol can help decrease the formation of sugar damaged proteins. New studies are also suggesting a link between poor oral hygiene and cardiovascular and heart problems. Patients with the highest risk for heart related health problems are the ones with poor oral hygiene.

Does xylitol promote growth of Candida albacans yeast?

Yeast grow well on 6 carbon molecule sugars but do not grow on 5 carbon molecules like xylitol. If xylitol is used consistently over a moderate period of time, yeast colonies tend to decline.

Is Xylitol safe to use?

Yes. Oral xylitol consumption has a long history of safety. The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), a scientific advisory group to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organiziation (FAO) of the United Nations, gave an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of "not specified" for xylitol. An ADI of "not specified" is the safest category that JECFA can give to a food additive. In 1986 the FDA also stated xylitol as safe for human consumption. No sweetener should be consumed in bulk and the same is true for xylitol. The laxation threshold of xylitol is higher than other polyols and is not even approached by the small dosages needed for dental protection.



   Top of Page   
Home |  Products |  Dental Kits |  Health Articles |  Shipping and Ordering Info | 
| Contact Us  |  Frequently Asked Questions |  Links |