Xylitol is an effective anti-cavity agent and also potentiates the effects of even small amounts of fluoride. However, it is rarely found in dental care products at an effective concentration due to cost. In order to provide therapeutic benefit, the product should have a minimum concentration of 10% xylitol. While xylitol may be listed on many product labels, you will often have to contact the manufacturer or search online to find out how much xylitol is actually present in the product.
Xylitol works as an anti-cavity agent in 3 ways:
- Cavity causing bacteria cannot metabolize xylitol into acid as they do many other carbohydates and sweeteners, protecting the teeth from additional acid exposure.
- Because bacteria cannot metabolize xylitol, it reduces their growth and the bacteria starve, reducing the amount of plaque and the number of bacteria in plaque.
- Because it is sweet tasting, it causes an increase in salivary flow to aid in repair of damaged tooth enamel.
Xylitol is safe for all age groups (even children under 2), and can be found in oral rinses, sprays, toothpastes, gum, mints, and lollipops for children and adults. We recommend the Carifree system in our practice.
If you find you are prone to getting cavities and would like more information on prevention, please book a caries risk assessment appointment with one of our doctors! We would love to help you improve your oral health and keep your teeth for life.