Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a artificial sweetener and as a toothcare product in the prevention of caries. First derived from birch Xylitol is probably most popular in Finland, where most sweets and candies are available in both regular sugar forms and Xylitol. The market consists of parents who worry over their children's teeth. It doesn't merely lack the caries inducing features of regular sugar, but can actively destroy caries. Xylitol is a low-calorie alternative to table sugar (sucrose) (approximately 40% fewer calories), and is absorbed more slowly than sugar; thus it doesn't contribute to a rapid rise in blood glucose and the resultant insulin response. In addition, studies have shown that xylitol chewing gum can help prevent ear infections (acute otitis media).
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. (This research was published in Metabolism -- an abstract can be found here -- and as an academic dissertation.) Xylitol can have mild laxative effects at high doses. There is no known toxic dose; people have consumed as much as 400 grams daily for long periods with no ill effects. Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in plants, fruits, and vegetables and is even produced in the human body by normal metabolism. The xylitol used in our toothpaste is produced from birch tree pulp. Though there is some processing involved in extracting the ingredient from birch pulp, the end result is identical to the xylitol found naturally in plants.
Xylitol is a multifunctional ingredient, and has several applications in our toothpastes. For example, xylitol's cool, soothing property makes it effective for use in our Natural Drymouth Toothpaste. In addition, xylitol has been shown to prevent bacteria from adhering to tooth surfaces. Because xylitol has shown this activity, we have used the ingredient in our antiplaque and antigingivitis toothpastes. Xylitol has been submitted to the Food and Drug Association for consideration as an over-the-counter drug ingredient for use in antiplaque and antigingivitis toothpastes, and is currently under review for inclusion by FDA as a drug.
Xylitol is currently approved for use in foods, pharmaceuticals and oral health products in more than 35 countries. Xylitol is used in foods such as chewing gum, gum drops and hard candy, and in pharmaceuticals and oral health products such as throat lozenges, cough syrups, children's chewable multivitamins, toothpastes and mouthwashes. In the United States, xylitol is approved as a direct food additive for use in foods for special dietary uses.
Chemical Name: 1,2,3,4,5,-Pentahydroxypentane
Molecular Formula: C5H12O5
Molecular Weight: 152.15
Cas NO: 87-99-0