Xylitol Sensitivity

Dear Dr. Ellie: 

I am very interested in improving and maintaining the health and appearance of my mouth and teeth and I came across your website and have been using the complete system but am having issues with the xylitol.  Even one exposure to gum or dissolving crystals in water is causing me bloating, gas , and diarrhea.  Will I still be gaining most of the benefits of the system if I don’t use xylitol?  Thanks.


Dear D:

50 percent of the improvements you will see from using my system come from the use of xylitol, and 50 % are from the use of the Complete Mouth Care System of rinses. Leaving out the xylitol component will give you half as many helpful improvements!

I am surprised to hear of your problems with xylitol, since it is a natural product and is “understood” by our bodies. Humans make about 15 grams of xylitol naturally every day in the process of metabolism (but do not give xylitol to dogs – they do not have the mechanism to process it).

It is true than many artificial sweeteners cause gas and bloating, including ones that have similar sounding names: sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol etc.etc. Sorbitol is the worst of these – and tiny amounts of sorbitol create gastric distress. This is one reason why we never recommend commercial xylitol gum that is also sweetened with sorbitol ( also sorbitol negates many of the benefits of xylitol).

Xylitol has been around for centuries – know to the ancient Chinese as a sugar from the “white ( birch) tree” and a cure for dental problems. Native Americans have used birch sugar ( xylitol) to protect teeth and believed it was “Gods gift to Mankind” Xylitol is also used in many other cultures around the world.

Xylitol works directly on the bacteria of the mouth. Tiny amounts taken at the end of meals are enough to get plaque bacteria to die off and stop producing acids that harm teeth and gums. Less than 1/8th teaspoon will do this if you take it after meals and drinks, several times during the day.

Xylitol passes through our digestive system as fiber but in the colon it behaves as a probiotic, improving digestion and helping to make the colon wall healthier. Usually it is only if large amounts of xylitol are taken on an empty stomach, does it create any digestive changes – and these result from absorption of water into the colon ( an osmotic reaction) which can loosen stools. Interestingly as the intestine becomes familiar with xylitol – this osmotic reaction decreases and xylitol appears to keep the digestive system regular and healthy.

I suggest you look closely at the ingredients in your gum and crystals ( since xylitol is often mixed with the cheaper artificial ingredients that can present problems – see above) If you have pure xylitol products – just start slowly – with one piece of gum or a 1/8th teaspoon at the end of each meal.
Avoid dumping a teaspoon of xylitol into your coffee – because this will not be as beneficial for your teeth – and may be too much for your system.

Probiotics can also help if you have digestive problems – and xylitol will work in harmony with probiotics.

Best wishes and I hope this answers your questions,

Out of interest, what has been your sweetener of choice when you sweeten foods- do you use sugar or some other sweetener?


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