More about xylitol

Xylitol is well-established as daily support for Oral Health Care for most Finns. The Finnish Dental Association recommends xylitol to all of us (read more about it). Internationally, reference has even been made to the "Finnish xylitol concept", which is based on e.g. the following observations:


  • Sucking and chewing xylitol products increase saliva secretion. Saliva is man's natural and most effective "mouthwash."

  • Xylitol weakens the so-called the effect of acid attack on the teeth; the risk of tooth decay is reduced.

  • Xylitol reduces the amount of bacterial plaque that sticks to teeth. Bacterial plaque causes cavities in the teeth.

  • The use of xylitol also has beneficial long-term effects; regular and long-term ingestion of xylitol may reduce the incidence of dental caries, even if there are temporary breaks in such use.

  • The limiting effect of xylitol on dental caries extends throughout the age range, from baby to elderly. However, the importance of early prevention for young children and schoolchildren needs to be emphasized.

  • Regular maternal use of xylitol during pregnancy and lactation may significantly protect the baby from the development of dental caries.

Now, in addition to these observations, e.g. the following additional observation based on studies: in order to enhance the effect of xylitol, it is justified to achieve a few so-called "Ksylitolishokkeja". Such a situation is formed, for example, by dissolving several small lozenge-type products in the mouth at a time. The large total surface area formed by small lozenges results in a fast and rather high local xylitol concentration that slows down the growth of bacterial plaque. It is possible that the formation of such multiple shocks in the dentition has a beneficial effect on dental health. Lozenges used for such purposes should have the highest possible xylitol content.


Kauko K. Mäkinen
Emeritus Professor
University of Michigan, USA, and University of Turku

Note. The information is based on Kauko K. Mäkinen's book “It had to happen - What every Finn should know about xylitol” (Mediapinta Oy, 2015). The book contains a wealth of information on the research history of xylitol and the use of xylitol. The book is intended for both consumers and those interested in all the medical effects of xylitol. The book can be ordered from this link.