Sorbitol and Xylitol

Dear Dr. Ellie

I am reading many articles recent days, which say SORBITOL induces and triggers IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME. Even I experienced the same whenever I changed to high content sorbitol tooth paste, my stomach gets upset.

(Because at least a very small amount of toothpaste is swallowed while brushing)

I would like to know even xylitol does the same , even a mild stomach upset. Are there tooth pastes available without xylitol and sorbitol and still we can take care of our teeth?

What about triclosan in toothpaste, wont it kill even the beneficial bacteria?

Your answer is gratefully thanked and appreciated.


Hi CD,

Thanks for your question.

Sorbitol and Xylitol are complete opposites.

Sorbitol is a nasty artificial sweetener that causes gastric distress at very small amounts.
Harmful bacteria learn to use sorbitol to grow and multiply.

Our bodies make 10-15 grams of xylitol naturally every day so eating a small amount of xylitol will not cause problems. In fact, many people with gastric problems find that it helps them.

I suggest keeping with the high grade xylitol in Zellies mints and gum eat one mint or piece of gum after every meal, snack or drink to take away mouth acidity and help to stop plaque forming on teeth.

I do not recommend toothpaste with triclosan. The problem with triclosan is that it reacts with the chlorine in tap water to form chloroform in your mouth.

I recommend a specific group of mouth rinses used with Original Crest toothpaste.

You only need a very little toothpaste to clean your teeth. It is very important to clean your toothbrush with either a UV sanitizer or some Listerine every day after using your brush.

Thanks for your question,
Ellie Phillips DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester NY 14623

Categories: Xylitol

Tags: , ,

  • Peggytg says:

    Crest contains sorbitol.

    • The sorbitol I worry about is in sugarless gum. It takes a couple of sticks of sorbitol gum, but this amount is a digestive problem. Sorbitol appears to create acid reflux symptoms and promote gingivitis. The sorbitol in the Crest regular paste that I recommend (as part of my system) is not an issue because you are not ingesting it.

  • Paul says:

    When you say “Sorbitol is a nasty artificial sweetener” ignores that raisins, figs and prunes contain sorbitol naturally.

    • OK – I agree that in natural products it may be different. I refer to the sorbitol products – like Trident gum – that put sorbitol as a main ingredient and then add a flake of xylitol and confuse the public with the label “Now with xylitol”. Thanks for your comment!

  • Leslea says:

    Any suggestions for those of us who find all sugar-alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol to be so horrible tasting that it makes using toothpastes with those ingredients a torturous experience? I react to both. The joys of being a super-taster.

    • Real xylitol has no aftertaste at all – have you tried pure xylitol products?

      • Leslea says:

        Yep. I get a horrible taste on my tongue.

        The last one I tried, was just a tiny bit I touched to my tongue, and I had that horrible taste for over an hour. I’ve done it with straight xylitol & it does indeed have a taste to me. And it’s gross in the extreme.

        When I was taking grade 12 biology & we were studying gene expression, one of the experiments involved people touching a piece of paper with a chemical that only 1 in about 30 000 to 45 000 people react to. I reacted. It was a horrific taste & I literally had to shove my head under a tap & claw at my tongue to try & reduce the tear-inducing disgusting taste. I was the first person the teacher had that reacted to the experiment. The joy of a recessive gene! 🙂

  • Lori B. says:

    I’m highly allergic to both sorbitol and xylitol. I can’t find a single toothpaste that doesn’t contain one or both of these.
    I also have to avoid mint and cinnamon as it burns the inside of my mouth. If anyone can help me find a toothpaste that doesn’t contain any of these I would appreciate it.

    • Hi Lori – you may be best to dry brush without any toothpaste, or better yet consider using a Miswak stick for oral care:

    • sara says:

      my daughter has a fructose malabsorbtion and has to avoid both of those ingredients and up until this point I didn’t even think to look at toothpaste!

      • If your daughter has these problems – I hope she is being given helpful guidance that is helping to improve her digestive health. I work with so many people who suffer for years with digestive problems, malabsorption and often associated oral health problems – just because they are being given out of date or poor advice. If she is not getting better – find someone else to guide you! It is the same with oral health.

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