Cancun, Mexico—Those interested in xylitol research were in for a sweet treat at the 2013 Xlear Inc. Conference, held here in February.

Speakers from all over the world were on hand to offer information about new and gold-standard xylitol research. Highlights of the event included talks from some of the biggest names in the xylitol research community, including Kauko Makinen, Ph.D., DDS, Dr. Pentti Alanen, Lon Jones, D.O., John Peldyak, DMD, and others.

Many topics focused on the benefits of xylitol for dental care. Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, spoke about why xylitol stops plaque from building up on teeth. Without harming good bacteria, she noted, xylitol prohibits bacterial adhesion and breaks the biofilm as it blocks bacteria’s sugar metabolism. This creates homeostasis in the mouth.

Some new research came from Aline Ferreira, Ph.D., who covered xylitol’s anti-adherence effect. While the exact mechanism is unknown, she spoke about how xylitol may influence a bacteria’s gene expression or interact with its receptors. In the end, these processes may be useful for supporting immune health and protection from infection.

Also of interest was how xylitol interacts with the saliva’s pH, bringing it back in balance, according to Brian Novy, Ph.D., of Loma Linda University. The risk of caries and tooth decay is less when acid is reduced and the mouth’s pH is balanced. Several researchers also pointed to benefits of early prevention by using xylitol in young children and school-age children, as well as the positive role a mother’s xylitol consumption can play on her child’s oral health.

Lectures weren’t only about the young; other speakers like Angie Stone, RDH, covered why adults in nursing homes and others who cannot care for themselves can benefit from xylitol.

Aside from oral care, speakers covered the benefits of xylitol for respiratory health, wound care and even for athletes.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2013