Xylitol is an increasingly recognized natural sweetener for its potential in preventing dental caries. This condition affects a large part of the global population, especially children and adults. This article explores the impact and mechanisms of xylitol in the fight against cavities, based on the findings of an in-depth study.
What is xylitol?
Found in many fruits and plants, xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that shares the sweetness of traditional sugar but does not require insulin for digestion. Its use is varied, ranging from chewing gums to toothpaste, syrups, and lozenges.
Action of xylitol against cavities
Xylitol combats cavities in several ways. It replaces cariogenic sugars with non-cariogenic alternatives, reducing the incidence of cavities. It also stimulates saliva production, which plays a key role in cleaning the mouth and remineralizing enamel. Finally, xylitol prevents bacteria like S. mutans from using sugar to produce energy, thereby inhibiting their growth.
Effectiveness and safety
Studies indicate that the use of fluoride toothpaste containing xylitol could significantly reduce cavities in children. However, evidence of its effectiveness in other products and in adults remains limited and requires careful interpretation due to potential limitations in existing studies.
Although generally safe, excessive consumption of xylitol can lead to undesirable effects such as gastrointestinal disorders. Therefore, its use should be moderate and aligned with the recommendations of healthcare professionals.
Xylitol, especially as a component of fluoride toothpaste, shows promising potential for the prevention of dental caries in children. Nevertheless, further research is needed to assess its effectiveness in other products and populations. The adoption of xylitol should be based on the advice of dental professionals and current evidence.