All you need to know about Xylitol

Xylitol sweetener

Boosts Dental Health:

Many dentists recommend using xylitol sweetened chewing gum — and for good reason. Studies have determined that xylitol boosts dental health and helps prevent tooth decay. Although some plaque on your teeth is normal, excess plaque encourages your immune system to attack the bacteria in it. This can lead to inflammatory gum diseases like gingivitis. As such, replacing sugar with xylitol reduces the available fuel for the harmful bacteria. In other words, when you chew gum with xylitol or use it as a sweetener, the harmful bacteria in your mouth starve to death. In one study, xylitol-sweetened chewing gum reduced levels of bad bacteria by 27–75%, while friendly bacteria levels remained constant.

Reduces Ear and Yeast Infections:

Your mouth, nose and ears are all interconnected. Therefore, bacteria that live in the mouth can end up causing ear infections, a common problem in children. It turns out that xylitol can starve some of these bacteria in the same way that it starves plaque-producing bacteria. One study in children with recurring ear infections observed that daily usage of xylitol-sweetened chewing gum reduced their infection rate by 40%. It reduces the yeast’s ability to stick to surfaces, thereby helping prevent infection.

Highly toxic to dogs:

In humans, xylitol is absorbed slowly and has no measurable effect on insulin production. However, the same cannot be said for dogs. When dogs eat xylitol, their bodies mistake it for glucose and start producing large amounts of insulin. Then the dog’s cells start absorbing glucose from the bloodstream, which can lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and even death. If you believe your dog accidentally ate, take it to your vet immediately.

Bottom Line: 

As a sweetener, xylitol is an excellent choice. Whereas some sweeteners may cause health risks, studies show that it has actual health benefits. It doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin, starves the plaque-producing bacteria in your mouth and feeds friendly microbes in your digestive system. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to regular sugar, give xylitol a try.