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Open Access Xylitol, Sweeteners, and Dental Caries

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The purpose of this report was to provide an overview of xylitol and other polyol sweeteners and dental caries for clinicians and to discuss current applications for dental practice and potential community-based public health interventions. Xylitol, like other polyol sweeteners, is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. Studies suggest polyols are noncariogenic. Furthermore, studies indicate that xylitol can decrease mutans streptococci levels in plaque and saliva and can reduce dental caries in young children, mothers, and in children via their mothers. Food products containing xylitol are now available and have the potential to be widely accessible to consumers to help control rampant decay. Determining whether products contain adequate xylitol amounts for practical use towards prevention is challenging, however, because xylitol content is not clearly labeled. Sufficient evidence exists to support the use of xylitol to reduce caries. Clinicians and dental associations should push for clear recommendations of efficacious dose and frequency of xylitol use and for clear labeling of xylitol content in products to help consumers choose appropriately.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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