pH Strips

Hi, Ellie-

Why is it that when I use the pH strips to test (1) water with baking soda it immediately turns dark blue, (2) water with vinegar it immediately turns yellow, but (3) water with granulated xylitol is in the mid-six range (that light greenish color, slightly acidic range), not turning darker (neutral) until the strip has been sitting for a minute or so?

Also, does xylitol make the water alkaline or does it just neutralize it?

Thanks a lot.


Hi LH,

Good question!

You are correct : granular xylitol dissolved in water is neutral. The alkaline effect of xylitol results from xylitol stimulating a flow of ALKALINE SALIVA to flow into the mouth. The benefit of xylitol is that it not only makes the mouth alkaline, but this saliva contains minerals that repair and strengthen teeth. Tooth remineralization occurs best at the pH of this stimulated saliva! So xylitol creates an environment in balance with pH and healing minerals to flow around teeth! (both produced naturally by the body).

This alkaline saliva is stimulated from cells in the roof of the mouth so this occurs for patients who do not otherwise have good saliva from regular salivary glands. This is an interesting question because some people get concerned that xylitol is going to make their stomachs too alkaline etc. This is not how xylitol works.

In addition, xylitol has its antibacterial effect on acid producing bacteria that damage teeth, our gums and our health. These acid producing bacteria live at a pH of around 5 – 6.5 and they are the sticky and form layers of plaque. Xylitol inactivates these bacteria reducing their ability to produce acids and their ability to “glue” to teeth. This is how xylitol cuts down the acidity in plaque and reduces the quantity of plaque on teeth. With less plaque in the mouth – there is less generalized mouth acidity.

Hope this answers your question!

Ellie Phillips, DDS

Categories: Plaque, Xylitol

Tags: ,

  • Sabine says:

    I wondered about the same thing. :o)I tested the xylitol water, too. But then I tested my saliva before and after and noticed that my saliva had turned from acidic to alkaline.

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