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Xylitol is a "Toothfriendly" sugar substitute. In addition to discouraging tooth decay by replacing dietary sugars, xylitol may actively aid in repairing minor cavities caused by dental caries. Recent research confirms a plaque-reducing effect and suggests that the compound, having some chemical properties similar to sucrose, attracts and then "starves" harmful micro-organisms, allowing the mouth to remineralize damaged teeth with less interruption. A report from February 2004 claims that the United States Army, acting on this data, will eventually pack xylitol-sweetened gum in MREs (meals ready to eat). [1]
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Possessing approximately 40% less food energy, xylitol is a low-calorie alternative to table sugar, and is absorbed more slowly than sugar; thus it doesn't contribute to a rapid rise in blood sugar level and the resultant insulin response.


Xylitol also appears to have potential as a treatment for osteoporosis. A group of Finnish researchers have found that dietary xylitol prevents weakening of bones in laboratory rats, and actually improves bone density.1,2

Ear infection

Studies3 [2] have shown that xylitol chewing gum can help prevent ear infections (acute otitis media); the act of chewing and swallowing assists with the disposal of earwax and clearing the middle ear, whilst the presence of xylitol prevents the growth of bacteria in the eustachian tubes which connect the nose and ear. [3]

Health concerns

Xylitol, like most sugar alcohols, can have a mild laxative effect at high doses. It has no known toxicity, though; people have consumed as much as 400 grams daily for long periods with no apparent ill effects.


    1 Mattila PT, et al. Improved bone biomechanical properties in xylitol-fed aged rats. Metabolism 51(1):92-6. (online abstract)
    2 Mattila, PT (1999). Dietary xylitol in the prevention of experimental osteoporosis. Dissertation, Institute of Dentistry, University of Oulu. (online)
    3 Uhari M, et al. (1998). A novel use of xylitol sugar in preventing acute otitis media. Pediatrics, 102(4): 879974.
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Anaheim Medical Plaza
408 South Beach Blvd
Suite 201
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 229-8100

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