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What Is Xylitol Toothpaste?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Xylitol toothpaste is a type of tooth cleaner containing an artificial sweetener derived from certain plants and fruits such as birch trees and plums. This xylitol sweetener has been shown to function as a natural antibiotic, neutralizing cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Regular use of xylitol toothpaste can also reduce plaque build-up on the teeth and prevent loss of protective enamel. The use of sugar substitutes such as xylitol in toothpaste is a safe alternative for users with diabetes or hypoglycemia who may have had past problems brushing with sugar-based toothpaste ingredients.

Tooth decay and cavities often result not only from bacteria but also from acidic pH levels in the mouth. In lab tests, the sugar substitute in xylitol toothpaste has been measured as more helpful than other ingredients in bringing this pH level back to a neutral balance. Xylitol toothpaste does not have any noticeable effect on blood sugar levels due to its low glycemic index number of seven. Adding balanced amounts of xylitol sweetener and aloe vera to some toothpastes has made them good choices for users with tooth and gum sensitivity.

When compared with standard sugars, xylitol has significantly lower percentages of both calories and carbohydrates. Xylitol toothpaste is approved as a safe alternative to fluoride-enriched toothpaste, particularly for young children. This type of toothpaste is sometimes presented as a more organic option in the face of health concerns over chemicals such as abrasive sulfate-based cleaning agents found in some other toothpastes.

One of the key benefits of xylitol in toothpaste is that it chemically breaks down coatings on the teeth known as biofilms. Biofilms typically result from ingesting food and drinks with significantly high levels of table sugar, and they provide a haven for bacteria to stick to the surfaces of teeth and multiply. Once xylitol toothpaste breaks apart the structure of biofilms, the bacteria have nothing to keep them in place and they are easily rinsed away. In addition to reducing cavities, this effect of xylitol can reduce the likelihood of dental diseases such as gingivitis.

A noted concern over toothpaste containing xylitol is that this artificial sweetener is very toxic to pets, namely dogs and cats that like to sample human food and household products. Ingesting xylitol can cause serious health problems in animals, including liver failure. Xylitol toothpaste users with pets should take care to keep it locked up and out of reach of their curious animals.

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Discussion Comments
By Azuza — On Oct 30, 2011

If you're not ready to give up your "regular" toothpaste for xylitol toothpaste, you still have a few options. One thing I would suggest is try xylitol gum! You can chew it between meals. It won't rot your teeth and you get the same dental benefits you get from xylitol toothpaste.

By SZapper — On Oct 29, 2011

@strawCake - Somehow I doubt the sugar that is in toothpaste is harmful to our teeth. If it was, we would have a lot more dental problems in this country! The average person uses regular toothpaste a few times a day.

However, I think there are still benefits to xylitol toothpaste. Most xylitol toothpastes are made with a lot more natural ingredients that regular toothpastes. And you don't necessarily have to give up fluoride either. I know the company xlear makes xylitol toothpastes that have fluoride in them, as well as toothpastes that do not.

By strawCake — On Oct 29, 2011

I can't believe I never realized that regular toothpaste is sweetened with sugar. I'm not sure how I thought it got so sweet. Magic? I don't know. Either way I never really thought about it.

However, it seems a bit counter-intuitive to put sugar in toothpaste. Sugar causes tooth decay for goodness sakes! I think I'm going to look for some xylitol toothpaste next time I'm at the store.

I've seen the spry toothpaste with xylitol in it at my local grocery store. It never appealed to me for whatever reason, but I think I'm going to give it a chance.

By SarahSon — On Oct 28, 2011

Once when I was complaining that I had to go to the dentist so often because of plaque build up on my teeth, a friend recommended I try Epic toothpaste.

I had never heard of this before and had never even heard of xylitol being used as a natural sweetener.

It cost a little bit more than my regular tube of toothpaste, but I decided to give it a try. Not only was it sweetened with xylitol, but it didn't have any fluoride in it and had a spearmint taste which I usually like.

I didn't really notice a difference using a toothpaste with xylitol in it. Even though it was a spearmint flavor it didn't seem to be as minty as the toothpaste I was used to.

I figured it was worth a try, but once this tube of toothpaste was gone, I found myself going back to my old brand.

By julies — On Oct 27, 2011

I have been using an xylitol toothpaste for many years. I purchase mine from an online health nutrition company.

Once I began using this for a long period of time, I find that toothpaste that is sweetened with traditional sweeteners is much too sweet.

That makes sense why kids love to eat toothpaste. How many kids do you know that don't really want to brush their teeth with toothpaste, but love to eat it. It must be because of the sugar in them that makes it so sweet.

Since I have had such good results with toothpaste that has xylitol in it, I would be interested in trying other xylitol products that would produce the same beneficial results.

By Sara007 — On Oct 26, 2011

@popcorn – I really like xylitol toothpaste, as well as other products like xylitol gum. I am diabetic, so avoiding excess sugar is really important to me. As far as how xylitol toothpaste works, I would say I haven't really noticed much difference from my old fluoride toothpaste.

My xylitol sensitive toothpaste is mint flavored and tastes pretty good to me. I find after I use it that my breath smells fresh and my teeth feel clean.

I would see if you can get a free sample of xylitol toothpaste from your dentist before buying it. The one thing that I've noticed is that it is a bit more expensive than regular toothpaste, so you may want to try it out first.

By popcorn — On Oct 26, 2011

My family has been looking for a fluoride free toothpaste due to concerns about the safety of the chemical. Does anyone have experience with using toothpaste with xylitol in it? Did you find it got your teeth feeling clean enough?

We have been looking for the best toothpaste to use for awhile now, and after trying a few natural toothpaste brands we found that we didn't really like the way they made our teeth feel. After reading how much xylitol can help deal with biofilm, it may be a better match for us. Also, how do you find the xylitol toothpaste tastes? Is it similar to regular fluoride toothpaste?

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