Xylitol in Pediatric Dentistry
Sugar substitutes are commonly used as a zero calorie sweetener in various dental products, such as mouthwash, toothpaste, and chewing gum. Xylitol is one of the most common sugar substitutes in dental products.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sweetener that is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. Most sugar substitutes are chemically produced, but xylitol is known for being the more healthy of options. In the past, xylitol has been used as “ infusion therapy for post-operative, burn, and shock patients, in the diet of diabetic patients, and as a sweetener in products aimed at improved oral health,” according to The Reference Manual of Pediatric Dentistry.
Benefits of Xylitol
Xylitol has been known to be quite beneficial in several areas of the body, including, but not limited to the following.
- Increased bone density
- Weight loss
- Stabilization of blood sugar
- Reduction of insulin levels
- Reducing plaque/improving overall oral health
Risks & Treatments
Though xylitol is very helpful to humans, the substance is toxic to dogs. There are no major negative side effects if consumed according to the serving size. Even if swallowed, there are no risks to xylitol observed.
As for treatment, xylitol must be consumed 3-7 times per day to be effective. Frequency is more crucial than quantity. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry also supports the use of xylitol in dentistry institutions, as long as it is not used excessively.