Int J Oral Biol.  2013 Dec;38(4):175-180.

Effect of Xylitol on various Oral bacteria

  • 1Department of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry, Pusan National University, Yangsan 626-870, Korea.
  • 2Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Dongnam Institute of Radiology and Medical Science, Busan, 619-950, Korea.


Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol that reduces the incidence of caries by inhibiting the growth of oral streptococci, including Streptococcus mutans. Since xylitol is transported via the fructose phosphotransferase system, we hypothesized that it could also affect the growth of other oral bacteria strains. We tested the effects of xylitol against non-periodontopathogenic oral bacteria frequently found in healthy subjects as well as periodontopathogens including Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, and Tannerella forsythia. With 5% xylitol, Streptococcus vestibularis and Gemella morbillorum showed marked growth inhibition. With 10% xylitol, all of the tested periodontopathogens and Actinomyces naeslundii showed marked growth inhibition, whereas the growth inhibition of Neisseria mucosa, Neisseria sicca and Veillonella parvula was mild only. Xylitol is a widely used sweetener and the concentration used in our experiment is easily achieved in the oral cavity. If xylitol reduces the growth of periodontopathogens more preferentially, it could also reduce the prevalence of these pathogens and have clinical utility in the prevention or treatment of periodontal disease.


Oral bacteria; Periodontopathogen; Xylitol
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