Xylitol: Good for You or All Hype?
It may look like just another hard-to-pronounce word on ingredient lists, but Xylitol is a sugar alternative worth knowing about.
What is Xylitol?
It’s a natural sugar alcohol commonly used as a sweetener for chewing gum, toothpaste and food. Many fruits and vegetables contain a little Xylitol, but most of the Xylitol available for purchase is extracted from corncobs or trees. Humans also produce some Xylitol everyday as part of normal metabolism.
Is it Healthy?
The health claims relating to Xylitol run the gamut. Some say it can prevent glaucoma and ear infections, others market it as a safer sweetener for diabetics, as it won’t significantly affect blood sugar or insulin levels.
Xylitol Does a Number on Decay-Causing Bacteria
It’s considered to be decay-preventative because the bacteria that cause cavities can’t use Xylitol to grow, according to the California Dental Association. This makes it an ideal sweetener for products like gum, mints or toothpaste. Beyond sweetening, the decay-preventative effects of xylitol make these gums and mints a smart addition to your oral care routine.
Xylitol vs. Sugar
If you’re one to add sugar to food or drink, Xylitol is said to be as sweet as regular sugar but with a fraction of the calories. Per gram, table sugar has four calories while Xylitol has just 2.4, according to Authority Nutrition.
As a general rule, added sugar isn’t healthy. But when it comes to dental health, Xylitol might be the most health-friendly sweetener to give toothpaste flavor, especially because of what it does to the harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Find Xylitol in Our Toothpaste
Boka’s minty toothpaste currently has Xylitol in concentrations of less than one percent (we might increase this later). It helps give the toothpaste a refreshing, cooling effect.
Xylitol – Worth the Hype?
Overall, the evidence says Xylitol is neutral or even positive for human consumption. Just don’t expect miracles – or allow using Xylitol to replace flossing. As Dr. Vladana Babcic, DMD, put it, “I would be surprised to see Xylitol being the main reason why someone’s oral care situation got better, although anything that’s not real sugar is going to be better than real sugar.”
Warning! Xylitol is Not Dog Friendly!
Just make sure your dog doesn’t get into anything containing Xylitol—it can be highly toxic for our furry friends.