The recently released Cochrane Study, a Meta-analysis of a group of studies looking the dental benefits of xylitol, concluded with a very alarming headline. After scrutinizing the entire study, what they really found, is what we’ve always known to be true; low doses of xylitol are not as effective at reducing dental decay as higher doses. Gums or other products where xylitol is listed as an afterthought, won’t give you the kind of results you’ll get using gums with only xylitol as the sweetener.

Only one study reviewed (Milgrom/xylitol syrup) used over 5 grams xylitol per day. Three out of the 10 studies reviewed (out of the thousands that have proven the benefits of therapeutic xylitol doses) were Fluoride toothpaste with only 10% xylitol — and they admitted that these were xylitol-positive. Two studies used milligram amounts, not the recommended grams, of xylitol in wipes and pacifiers. The XACT trial used insufficient xylitol but did get 8% caries reduction, which fell just short of the “statistically significant” line.

The report also noted that xylitol is linked to some stomach issues, including diarrhea. Other studies that were not reviewed, show that in the amounts used in toothpaste or 5 daily doses of chewing gum generally do not have that effect for the majority of the population.

Their selection criteria also excluded all the pivotal trials, including Turku and Belize, along with studies that demonstrated long-term protection and mother/child transmission and that frequency is more important than the amount.

written by Kris Potts RDH, BS

If you wish to take the time to listen, this is a link to Cross Link Radio’s episode from 3/31/15 on the topic.:

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Cochrane Study on Xylitol
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