Dental and Medical Problems

Dent Med Probl
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ISSN 1644-387X (print)
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Dental and Medical Problems

2015, vol. 52, nr 4, October-December, p. 479–484

doi: 10.17219/dmp/58949

Publication type: review article

Language: English

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Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 Open Access

Effectiveness of Xylitol in Caries Prevention

Efektywność ksylitolu w zapobieganiu próchnicy

Katarzyna Anna Harłukowicz1,A,B,C,D, Urszula Kaczmarek1,B,C,D,E,F

1 Department of Conservative and Pediatric Dentistry, Wroclaw Medical University, Wrocław, Poland


Xylitol is a polyol, five-carbon sugar alcohol classified as a natural sugar substitute. Even though its sweetness degree is similar to sucrose, it is less caloric. Dentists became interested in xylitol after the publication of the data of the “Turku sugar studies” in the 1970’s, which turned out to be promising in caries reduction. Presently, xylitol is recognized to be a safe dental caries preventive measure, having approval as a dietary food additive. It possesses properties that reduce the levels of Streptococcus mutans bacteria in the dental plaque and saliva due to the disruption of the energy production process leading to bacterial cell death, adhesion reduction to the teeth and less lactic acid production. Xylitol can also cause the disruption of bacterial protein synthesis. Its impact on the remineralization process results from the formation of polyol-Ca complexes, constituting a calcium carrier that leads to a raised level of calcium in dental plaque, where the additional calcium increases remineralization instead of plaque mineralization. Currently, xylitol is mostly used in chewing gum, chewable or soluble tablets, syrups, mints, mouth-wash liquids and wipes. The AAPD recommends the use of xylitol as a part of a preventive strategy aimed to achieve longterm suppression of cariogenic pathogens and a reduction of caries development in moderate and high caries risk subjects. However, to obtain those goals, a therapeutic dose is needed.

Key words

xylitol, caries prevention, non cariogenic sweeteners

Słowa kluczowe

ksylitol, zapobieganie próchnicy, słodziki przeciwpróchnicowe

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