Skip to main content

Xylitol appears to fight early childhood cavities, study finds


NEW YORK Children given an oral syrup containing the naturally occurring sweetener xylitol may be less likely to develop decay in their baby teeth, according to a new study.

Peter Milgrom, D.D.S., from the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of using syrup containing xylitol, approved in the United States for use in food since 1963, among 94 children (9 months to 15 months old) from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where early childhood tooth decay is a major health problem.

The investigators stated that “exposure to xylitol (8 g per day) in a twice-daily topical oral syrup during primary tooth eruption could prevent up to 70% of decayed teeth.”

After an average of 10.5 months, 8-out-of-33 children receiving two doses of xylitol per day and 13-of-the-32 children receiving three does of xylitol per day had tooth decay. This compared with 15-of-the-29 children in a control group, the report stated.

The study was funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau and by a grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Danisco USA donated the raw materials used to make the syrups in this study. The study was published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds