Review Article

Effect of xylitol on dental caries prevention : a literature review

Young-Eun Lee1   Ji-Hye Kim1,2   Min-Jeong Cho3   Keun-Bae Song2   Youn-Hee Choi2,*   

1Department of Dental Hygiene, Daegu Health College
2Department of Preventive Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University
3University3Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Science & Technology, Kyungpook National University


Xylitol is a sweetening agent used to prevent dental caries. It is formulated and consumed in various forms, and its use is recommended in particular for oral health. However, dental specialists are not familiar with xylitol or well-acquainted with the appropriate method to use it. Furthermore, the caries-prevention effect of xylitol has been controversial. Thus, in this study, we aimed to analyze previously published studies on the dental caries prevention effect of xylitol to verify its true effects and establish an appropriate method to use it. We analyzed 94 clinical research manuscripts obtained from domestic and international online databases and found that although 11 manuscripts reported no significant dental caries prevention effect of xylitol, most manuscripts reported dental caries prevention with xylitol. Compared to the manuscripts that reported dental caries prevention with xylitol, those are assessed lower amounts of xylitol or shorted consumption periods, and had dosage form that could not retain xylitol sufficiently long in the mouth, similar to milk. Thus, consumption of 5–11 g of xylitol in the form of gums, candies, or tablets over a long time period could effectively reduce the risk of dental caries. It has the advantage of ease of consumption, regardless of the gender, age, or disability of the person.

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