Veranda Dentistry Logo
Browse by Page
Connect on Social Media
New Patients Start Here
Choose Your Location
Right Arrow Icon

Xylitol: Is it Safe for Kids?

Posted on April 27th, 2023

Des Moines dentist, Dr. Chad Johnson at Veranda Dentistry shares information about Xylitol, its uses, and how safe it is for children as a sugar substitute and in helping prevent tooth decay.What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally-occurring substance found in the birch tree and in many fruits and vegetables. Its chemical structure resembles a cross between sugar and alcohol—but it is neither. Xylitol is used as an FDA-approved artificial sweetener that can also assist in the prevention of tooth decay, so Veranda Dentistry would like to share some information about xylitol’s safety for children.

How is Xylitol Used?

Because bacteria in the mouth cannot use xylitol as an energy source, oral care products like toothpaste and mouthwash often contain xylitol to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms and prevent tooth decay. When extracted from birch wood, xylitol can be used as an active ingredient in other medicines as well. Its capability to eliminate or reduce the effects of bad bacteria extends to those that cause ear infections in young children.

How Does Xylitol Work?

Xylitol tastes sweet like sugar but contains fewer calories and is absorbed more slowly by the body, reducing the likelihood of dramatic blood sugar spikes. These characteristics make xylitol an ideal sugar substitute for diabetics. Unlike other artificial sweeteners and sucrose (actual sugar), xylitol reduces the bacteria that cause tooth decay in the saliva. 

Is Xylitol Safe for Children?

The unaltered natural xylitol present in fruit and vegetables should be safe for kids, barring allergies or a major produce binge. Cavity prevention medicines containing xylitol used in pediatric dentistry typically range from 7 to 15 grams per day (divided into three to five doses). More than 20 total grams of xylitol per day is not recommended for children. 

Like other artificial sweeteners, exceeding the recommended intake of xylitol can cause pronounced physical discomfort, including diarrhea and intestinal gas. Because children’s medicines containing xylitol may taste as good as regular candy, parents need to be careful that kids don’t eat more than the recommended amount!

Non-Medical Products that May Contain Xylitol

If you buy sugar-free items a lot, it’s good to be aware of which items in your kitchen, fridge, or pantry may contain xylitol:

  • Packaged goods (ice cream, yogurt, gelatin, pudding)
  • Packaged mixes (pudding, gelatin, baking mixes)
  • Flavored bottled water
  • Powdered drink mixes
  • Candies, chewing gum, and mints (keep an eye on your purse!)
  • Jams and jellies
  • Syrup and honey
  • Protein bars and powders
  • Peanut and other nut butters
  • Vitamins and supplements (especially gummies)
  • Liquid shots for energy, sleep, etc.

Keep the Xylitol Away from Your Pets

Xylitol in any amount can be toxic to dogs and cats. If you have reason to believe your pet has swallowed anything containing xylitol—especially if it also contains chocolate—take them to the vet immediately.

Xylitol in the proper doses can be very useful and safe to promote better oral health for both adults and kids. If you have any questions about xylitol, its uses and its safety, contact us at Veranda Dentistry today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Accessibility Options

Accessibility On Our Website

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are recognized and acknowledged as the international standard measure of success. We regularly test our site to ensure we meet or exceed that standard and also consistently look for ways to improve the web site’s performance, speed, and accessibility.

We are committed to continuously improving access to our goods and services by individuals with disabilities. If you are unable to use any aspect of this website because of a disability, please call (515) 650-5531 and we will provide you with prompt personalized assistance.

If you have trouble seeing web pages, the US Social Security Administration offers these tips for optimizing your computer and browser to improve your online experience.

If you are looking for mouse and keyboard alternatives, speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking may help you navigate web pages and online services. This software allows the user to move focus around a web page or application screen through voice controls.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, there are several accessibility features available to you.

Closed Captioning
Closed captioning provides a transcript for the audio track of a video presentation that is synchronized with the video and audio tracks. Captions are generally visually displayed over the video, which benefits people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and anyone who cannot hear the audio due to noisy environments. Most of our website’s video content includes automated captions. Learn how to turn captioning on and off in YouTube.

Volume Controls
Your computer, tablet, or mobile device has volume control features. Each video and audio service has its own additional volume controls. Try adjusting both your device’s volume controls and your media players’ volume controls to optimize your listening experience.