- What other names is Xylitol known by?
- What is Xylitol?
- How does Xylitol work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Xylitol.
Xylitol is widely used as a sugar substitute and in "sugar-free" chewing gums, mints, and other candies. However, sorbitol is the most commonly used sweetener in sugarless gums because it is less expensive than xylitol and easier to make into commercial products.
As a medicine, xylitol is used to prevent middle ear infections (otitis media) in young children, and as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes.
Xylitol is added to some chewing gums and other oral care products to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.
Xylitol is sometimes included in tube feeding formulas as a source of energy.
Dog owners should know that xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even when the relatively small amounts from candies are eaten. If your dog eats a product that contains xylitol, it is important to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately.
Likely Effective for...
- Preventing dental caries (tooth decay). Use of xylitol-containing products such as foods, chewing gum, candies, and toothpaste that provide 1-20 grams of xylitol per day can significantly reduce the rate of cavity formation in both adults and children. But some national brands of chewing gum contain milligram amounts of xylitol, far less than the gram doses that prevent tooth decay. Xylitol products appear to be more effective than products containing sorbitol for preventing cavities.
Possibly Effective for...
- Reducing episodes of ear infections (otitis media) in preschool children. Xylitol given in appropriate doses after meals to preschool children seems to significantly reduce the number of ear infections they get and the need for antibiotics. However, giving xylitol at the onset of symptoms of an acute respiratory infection does not seem to prevent ear infections.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Prevention of dry mouth.
- As a sugar substitute for people with diabetes.
- Other conditions.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of xylitol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- For reducing the risk of ear infections in preschoolers: total daily doses of 8.4 to 10 grams of xylitol in chewing gum, lozenges, or syrup given in five divided doses after meals.
- For prevention of cavities in adults and children, a wide range of doses has been used. Typically, doses are from 7 to 20 grams per day divided into three to five doses, usually given as candies or chewing gum that contact the gums.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.