Xylitol is a low-glycemic sugar substitute. It may improve dental health, prevent ear infections, and have antioxidant properties, according to research.

Xylitol is a carbohydrate that contains no alcohol. Xylitol occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, trees, corncobs, and the human body.

Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute because it’s sweet but has fewer calories.

Xylitol is in sugar-free gum and toothpaste. Tabletop sweeteners and baking use xylitol.

This article discusses xylitol’s uses and benefits. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and alternatives are discussed.



Low-calorie xylitol replaces sugar.

Xylitol is sweet like sugar but has fewer calories. Sugar-free gum and toothpaste contain it.

Xylitol is added to foods like:

gum, mints, gummies, jams and jellies, honey nut butters, including peanut butter, yogurt

Xylitol is in some dental products, including:

Online retailers sell toothpaste, mouthwash, and Xylitol sweeteners.

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Xylitol may help with:


Low-GI Xylitol (GI). It doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels. Xylitol is a good diabetic sugar substitute.

Due to its low GI, xylitol promotes weight loss.

A 2015 study found xylitol lowered blood glucose in high-fat-fed rats.


Xylitol is in toothpaste and mouthwash. Xylitol is non-fermentable, so bacteria in the mouth can’t turn it into tooth-decaying acid.

Plaque, the sticky, white substance that accumulates on teeth, is largely caused by Streptococcus mutans.

Plaque binds lactic acid to teeth. This acid destroys tooth enamel, causing cavities.

Excess plaque can cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

2017 study

Xylitol reduces S. mutans bacteria in the mouth, which may prevent tooth decay.

2014 research

Trusted Source tested xylitol on Porphyromonas gingivalis, the gum disease bacterium. P. gingivalis can cause systemic inflammation if left untreated.

Scientists grew P. gingivalis in the lab and added it to xylitol-treated human cell cultures. Xylitol boosted immune system protein production and inhibited bacterial growth.


Xylitol reduces ear infections.

Plaque-causing bacteria can also cause middle ear infections. Acute otitis media (AOM).

A 2016 systematic review found moderate-quality evidence that xylitol can reduce AOM by 30 to 22% in healthy children.

A 2014 study found xylitol syrup ineffective against AOM in high-risk children.

These conflicting results suggest more research is needed on using xylitol to prevent ear infections in children.


Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which can damage cells and contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, according to lab studies.

A 2014 study suggested xylitol’s antioxidant properties. Xylitol-fed diabetic rats produced more glutathione. This antioxidant fights free radicals. These findings need to be confirmed in humans.