How Healthy is Xylitol?

The refined sugars that are so abundant in our modern diets are one of the bigger sources of tooth decay. Knowing this, many groups are eager to develop alternative sweeteners that can give us the great taste we want without putting our teeth and gums to as much of a risk. Xylitol is one of these alternative sweeteners, and one which many people are getting excited about. Indeed, researchers have found that this substance has the potential to cause less damage to your teeth, compared to conventional refined sugars. Some people are even claiming that it actually serves to kill off some of the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay.

To explore these alleged properties, a research team conducted a series of ten studies with the help of about six thousand participants. Some participants were given a xylitol-based toothpaste, while a control group used a fluoride toothpaste. Following the studies, the team reported “low-quality evidence” that the xylitol-based paste resulted in 13% less decay. Unfortunately, these results are not considered sufficient to draw conclusions, and the studies did not go so far as to explore any side effects of the paste.