Xylitol Information 1
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Xylitol Information 1

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, or polyol.

Xylitol metabolism does not require insulin and it does not promote
tooth decay; thus, products sweetened with Xylitol can be labelled �sugar
free�. Xylitol extracted from birch tree pulp is used in mints, chewing gum,
and natural-ingredient toothpastes and oral hygiene products. Xylitol is a
five-carbon sugar, which means it is antimicrobial, preventing the growth of
bacteria. They cannot use it as food so the colony diminishes and their
ability to proliferate (and adhere) is weakened, resulting in reduced acid
fermentation. While sugar is acid-forming, Xylitol is alkaline enhancing. All
other forms of sugar, including sorbitol, another popular alternative
sweetener, are six-carbon sugars, which can feed dangerous bacteria and fungi.

Good tasting Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is reduced in calories
and dentally safe. It was discovered in 1891 by German chemist Emil Fischer
and has been used as a sweetening agent in human food since the 1960s. Xylitol
looks just like normal table sugar and tastes pleasant and sweet. Because
Xylitol is an effective preventive agent against dental caries, it is gaining
increasing acceptance as a sugar substitute. The average person consumes 2 to
4 grams of xylitol a day in fruits and vegetables and it is even produced
naturally in our bodies during normal metabolism. Produced commercially from
plants such as birch and other hard wood trees and fibrous vegetation, xylitol
has the same sweetness and bulk as sucrose with one-third fewer calories and
no unpleasant aftertaste. It quickly dissolves and produces a cooling
sensation in the mouth. In 1986, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
commissioned the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
(FASEB) to complete a report based on all relevant data concerning xylitol and
other polyols. The report confirms the safety of xylitol use by humans.

Xylitol's acceptability as an approved food additive for use in foods
for special dietary uses was also affirmed. JECFA (a prestigious scientific
advisory body to the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural
Organization of the United Nations) has allocated an Acceptable Daily Intake
(ADI) of "not specified" for xylitol. ADI, expressed in terms of body weight,
is the amount of a food additive which can be taken daily in the diet over a
life time without risk. An ADI of "not specified" is the safest category in
which JECFA can place a food additive. Xylitol was determined acceptable for
dietary uses by the Scientific Committee for Food of the European Union (EU).
Xylitol has been approved in more than 35 countries for use in foods,
pharmaceuticals and oral health products. Xylitol is used in foods such as
chewing gum, mints, and in pharmaceuticals and oral health products such as
toothpastes and mouthwashes. The United States has approved xylitol officially
as a direct food additive for use in foods for special dietary purposes. The
World Health Organisation has given xylitol their highest rating for a food
additive, deemed safe for all individuals from infancy to advanced ages. It is
currently approved by government bodies in over 50 countries worldwide.


Good Taste with No Unpleasant Aftertaste Helps Reduce the
Development of Dental Caries Reduces Plaque Formation Increases Salivary Flow
to Aid in the Repair of Damaged Tooth Enamel Provides One-Third Fewer Calories
than Sugar about 2.4 Calories per Gram May Be Useful as an
Alternative to Sugar for People with Diabetes on the Advice of their Health
Care Providers Xylitol is completely natural and absolutely safe for human
consumption. The clinical and field tests have shown that the consumption of
xylitol between meals reduces the formation of new caries, even when
participants were already practicing good oral hygiene. Results clearly show
that use of xylitol sweetened foods play a role in helping against tooth
decay. It also has an effect in preventing the growth of S.mutans
(Streptococcus mutans), the primary bacterium associated with dental caries.
The American Dental Association has already recognized the usefulness of
polyols, including xylitol, as substitutes to sugars and as part of a
comprehensive program including proper dental hygiene. The FDA has officially
agreed sugar-free foods including xylitol or other polyols to be labelled
�does nor promote tooth decay.� That is a big step forward. The Ylivieska
Health Care Centre in Finland have finished a two-year study of children aged
11-12 who consumed 7 to 10g of Xylitol daily in chewing gum. They showed a 30
to 60% reduction in new dental caries development compared to the control
group not chewing gum. The follow-up to the Ylivieska study has explored the
possible long-term caries-preventing effects of xylitol. A continued reduction
in caries increment has been apparent since re-examination of the subjects 2
or 3 years after discontinuation of the use of xylitol in the post-use years
of about 55%. The first year of the use of xylitol chewing gum in teeth
erupting has over 70% long-term caries preventive effect. The results suggest
that the value of xylitol may be highest during periods of high dental
activity such as eruption of new teeth. A 40-month (1989-93) study on the
relationship between the use of chewing gum and dental caries was performed
with 4th grade students in Belize Central America. Nine treatment groups were
included: control group (no gum); four xylitol groups (range of xylitol
consumption 4.3-9.0g/day); two xylitol/sorbitol groups (total polyol
consumption 8.0/9.7g/day); one sorbitol group (9.0g/day); and one sucrose
group (9g/day). Compared with the no-gum group, sucrose gum usage resulted in
a marginal increase in caries rate (relative risk 1.20). Sorbitol gum reduced
the caries rate (relative risk 0.74). The four Xylitol gums were most
effective in reducing caries rates (relative risks from 0.48-0.27).The 100%
Xylitol pellet gum had the greatest effect (relative risk 0.27). The
xylitol/sorbitol gums had fewer effects than Xylitol , but significant caries
rates reduction compared to the no-gum or sorbitol gum groups. The results
suggest that systemic usage of polyol-based chewing gum reduces caries rates
in young subjects, with xylitol gums being most effective. A three-year
clinical dentifrice caries study was conducted with 2,630 children initially
aged 8-10 years in the San Jose Costa Rica metropolitan area.

Oral Hygiene

The effect of xylitol or xylitol/sorbitol blends in chewing gum and
mints on plaque has recently been tested at the Dental Schools of Michigan and
Indiana Universities. A significant decrease was showed in plaque
accumulation. An increase in salivary flow was created by the sweetness and
pleasant cooling effect of xylitol-sweetened products (such as mints and
chewing gum). Saliva has the effect of cleaning and protecting teeth from
decay. Saliva is naturally alkaline.


The three things diabetics wish to manage are control of
blood glucose, lipids (fats) and weight. Xylitol can be slowly absorbed, so
using xylitol, the rise in blood glucose and the insulin response associated
with eating sugar is much reduced. The reduced caloric value (2.4 calories per
gram versus 4.0 for sugar) of xylitol is consistent with the objective of
weight control.

Regulatory Status of Xylitol

Xylitol has been evaluated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation
of the United Nations (FAO)/World Health Organisation (WHO) Joint Expert
Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the EU Scientific Committee for Food
(SCF). JECFA allocated an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for xylitol of "Not
Specified", which represents the safest category into which JECFA can allocate
a food additive. Xylitol is currently approved in over 50 countries worldwide (Including Australia)
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