Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar-alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine.
Xylitol tastes sweet but, unlike sugar, it is not converted in the mouth to acids that cause tooth decay. It reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva by coating your mucus membranes so that they are ‘slippery’ and the bacteria can’t ‘stick’, thereby washing them away. It can also be used to prevent middle ear infections (otitis media) in young children
When Xylitol is added to some chewing gums and other oral care products it helps to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.
Xylitol works very well when added to a light saline solution (salt water) for use in nasal irrigation giving great relief for people with sinus problems.
Xylitol when used in moderation is also used as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes or sugar sensitivities.