What is it?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in plants, fruits, and vegetables and is even produced in the human body by normal metabolism. Pure xylitol appears as a white crystalline substance that is very similar to table sugar.
What does it do?
Xylitol is a multifunctional ingredient. It imparts sweetness, releases a cooling sensation when it dissolves and does not promote tooth decay because it is non-fermentable by oral plaque bacteria.
How is it made?
The xylitol used in our toothpaste is produced either from birch tree or other hardwood pulp, or corn. Though there is some processing involved in extracting the ingredient, the end result is the same as the xylitol found naturally in plants.
Xylitol is produced by hydrolyzing xylan, which is extracted from birch or other hardwood pulp, or corn to produce xylose. This material is then converted to xylitol through catalytic hydrogenation.
What are the alternatives?
There are alternative ingredients, including both natural and artificial sweeteners, that could impart many, but not all, of xylitol’s properties. We have chosen to use xylitol in several of our oral care products because of its natural and sustainable sources, and because it is not converted to acids that cause tooth decay.
Is this the right option for me?
Xylitol is permitted by the US Food and Drug Administration as a non-nutritive sweetener for direct addition to food for special dietary1. It has a long history of use in food dating back to the 1960's and is included in such products as chewing gum, syrup, toothpastes, mouthwashes and pharmaceuticals.
Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
1 21CFR 172.395