Xylitol is a popular buzz word today, some know it as a sugar substitute, and xylitol has been featured in bubble gums, breath mints, candies and more foods.
In this post here, I will share what xylitol is and how it can help in your oral care journey, and whether it is a safe ingredient to have in your toothpaste.
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What is Xylitol used for?
Xylitol is a white substance that tastes sweet with only 2.4 kcal/gram (as compared to the value of almost 4 kcal/gram for sucrose). Its calories is about 40% lesser than sugars.
As such, this “sugar-free” sweetener is a common ingredient used to make chewing gum, mints, candies, diabetic friendly foods and even oral care products.
On food labels, it is loosely classified as a carbohydrate or “sugar alcohol”.
Xylitol has been approved for safety by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a non-nutritive sweetener.
As you shop through the supermarket, there will be shelves of food stuffs that will contain xylitol.
Where does Xylitol come from?
Xylitol is found in small amounts in many fruits such as plums and raspberries, and also vegetables, mushrooms and cauliflower.
It is also present naturally in your bodies – in fact, an average size adult manufactures up to 15g of xylitol daily during normal metabolism.
Xylitol comes from 2 main sources
Both processes start from xylan (hemicellulose) extracted from hardwoods or corncobs, which is hydrolyzed into xylose and catalytically hydrogenated into xylitol.
a. Corn-derived sources and corncobs
Corncobs as a source is more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Corncobs are a renewable resource that take about 5 months to regrow and the process uses hydrogen, hydrochloric acid and steam.
Look out for sources where their corn farmers remain strictly and proudly non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
They hand plant their corn between rows of vegetables and trees, rotating crops every season – ensuring top soil quality.
The extraction process has to go through strict standards with many levels of checks and filtrations to ensure that the finer crystallized xylitol is the purest.
b. Birch based xylitol
Using birch based process takes more effort and resources as birch takes up to 20 years to regrow. This drives up the price of Xylitol.
Also in this method of extracting the bark of birch, sulphuric acid is used and the waste products cannot be reused.
This is also less environmentally friendly because to harvest the birch, trees will have to be chopped down.
|Less expensive||More Expensive|
|Renewable source – 5 months to regrow||Less renewable – 15 years to regrow|
|More environmentally friendly||Less environmental friendly|
PS: Do you know that OraWellness Shine Remineralzing Powder contains birch based xylitol?
What is Xylitol in Toothpaste called?
What Other Names is Xylitol Known by?
Other names of xylitol include Birch Sugar, E967, Meso-Xylitol, Méso-Xylitol, Sucre de Bouleau, Xylitol, Xylit, Xylite, Xylo-pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol.
How does Xylitol work?
Xylitol cannot be fermented by bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans (the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and bad breath).
The environment in your mouth when you eat food will become acidic and xylitol helps to reduce that acidity. That is why xylitol is always given after meals or sweet snacks.
To start a plaque build-up, bacteria will feed on sugars from the foods that you eat, then as a by-product, plaque is formed.
But because when Streptococcus mutans meet xylitol, they are not able to break the xylitol down, therefore plaque is reduced. Xylitol can also make plaque slippery so that it is easier to slip off when brushing.
How can you use Xylitol?
a. Xylitol in Toothpaste
How can you use xylitol for your teeth?
You can reap the benefits of toothpaste in your dental hygiene routine by choosing a toothpaste that has xylitol.
The highest composition of xylitol is in the Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste of 36% and reduced to 10% in this xylitol toothpaste list.
These toothpastes that contains xylitol as the largest component will list it as its first ingredient on its list.
Check out this Superclean Charcoal Toothpaste.
The ingredients contained in this Superclen Charcoal Toothpaste are
a. Xylitol – A plant-based sweetener that can reduce plaque and cavity
b. Coconut Oil – Antibacterial and antiviral to reduce bacteria and plaque in your mouth
c. Activated Charcoal – Whiten your teeth and detox your mouth
d. Baking Soda – Removes Bad Breath
If you like more options of xylitol toothpaste reviews, head over here.
b. Using Xylitol in Powder Form for Toothpaste
Another way to get the benefit of xylitol is to get any pharmaceutical grade brand like Xylosweet for use in in your daily lives.
Zellie’s is another brand that is very popular.
Besides powder form, you can also use a combination of mints, gums and granules.
The recommended dosage is up to 5 per day. So if you brush twice a day with a toothpaste with xylitol as a core ingredient, have coffee with xylitol crystals and also pop in some gums with xylitol, you would have gotten your daily dosage of xylitol.
The best time to take xylitol is after eating.
The xylitol will then be able to reverse the acidity of your mouth because of the chewing action stimulates more production of saliva. (You can check your saliva Ph level with these PH testing strips)
Can you brush your teeth with xylitol?
You can also dip your toothbrush in xylitol, to brush your teeth with xylitol.
Using xylitol can potentially prevent your teeth from getting a tooth infection or decay because it reduces the chances of bacteria creating havoc in your mouth.
Xylitol may reduce cavity by
- Increase saliva production
- Helping to reduce bacteria
- Increase the absorption of calcium
- Reduce the acidity of mouth
c. Using Xylitol as a Mouthwash
You can also make your own xylitol mouthwash.
The ingredients needed are
- 40g of xylitol
- 500 ml of water
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 10 drops of peppermint oil
- Glass bottle
Mix all the ingredients together and shake well. Your mixture is ready, and you can use it every day after brushing.
Just take a sip and gargle in your mouth every morning.
You can also swish with xylitol with a brand like Xylosweet.
Using Xylitol as a mouthwash can also remove bad breath.
d. Using Xylitol In Your Homemade Toothpaste Recipe
One hippie mama has made a version of her own homemade recipe using xylitol.
Here is how she did it.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of xylitol
- 10 drops of essential oil like peppermint oil
Mix them together and store them in a glass jar. Scoop out a pea-size to use each time.
For more homemade toothpaste recipes, read my 13 Best Homemade Toothpaste Recipes
For a complete reading of xylitol, read this comprehensive book.
You can also brush with xylitol on its own by putting some crystals on the wet toothbrush.
e. Simply Chew Xylitol Products
Some products that you can easily incorporate into your daily life with a smile.
- Chew 2 pieces of xylitol gums after every meal
- Switch to xylitol mints 3 times a day
- Brush and rinse with xylitol toothpaste and mouthwash
With all these, you are adequately covered for your xylitol dosage.
Is Xylitol Bad for Teeth?
Besides being beneficial as a sugar alternative, xylitol also helps to boost dental health and helps prevent the buildup of plaque.
Plaque is formed when sugars in food interact with the bacteria in your mouth.
If you use xylitol, it is useless to these bacteria and they will have no resource to turn into plaque.
Even when you digest xylitol, the bacteria in your mouth will be starved to death because they absorbed xylitol and are unable to take in any more sugars.
That being said, xylitol is highly dangerous to dogs, so be sure to keep any xylitol away from pets and dogs.
For some exceptions, xylitol is quite well accepted by human bodies. The recommended consumption is 5 to 10 g per day, though a maximum limit could be 45g per day.
Some exceptions could be stomach upsets and diarrhea.
What are the benefits of using xylitol?
When used properly, xylitol can have the following benefits.
- Reduces the growth of bacteria that cause cavities, by preventing bacteria from sticking to your teeth
- Prevent plaque from forming
- Increase the pH value in the mouth
- Strengthen tooth enamel.
It does not break down as sugars do, so the bacteria party cannot start because there is no food (broken down sugars) for them.
Can Xylitol help to remineralize your teeth?
Your saliva has the ability to remineralize your teeth naturally by replacing the minerals from your body.
When xylitol increases your saliva production, the basic amino acids and ammonia in saliva increases in PH value, and calcium and phosphate salts in saliva will repair weak enamel and make it harden.
Summing Up: Xylitol is safe in Toothpaste
So yes xylitol, derived from corncob or birch has been approved by FDA for use in many products like chewing gum, mints, and also toothpaste.
As a consumer, you make your decision to use xylitol after your own research.
Instead of just using any normal toothpaste, you now have knowledge of how xylitol can be beneficial in your oral care routine.
You can consume xylitol on its own, buy a xylitol-heavy toothpaste, or make your own homemade toothpaste.
Let me know in the comments below whether you have considered the use of xylitol in your dental routine, and how you are using xylitol.