Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that alleviates dry mouth by increasing saliva production. A 2016 study found that topical xylitol significantly improved dry mouth symptoms after 15 days of use. You can take xylitol as a mouth spray, toothpaste, or chewing gum.
Dry mouth (AKA xerostomia) affects 1 out of 5 adults, making it one of the most common oral health issues—and one of the most annoying. On top of that terrible “sticky” feeling, chronic dry mouth can cause bad breath, a sore throat, canker sores, cavities, and more oral health issues.
The key to treating dry mouth is increasing saliva production, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with xylitol: a natural sugar alcohol found in fruits and vegetables.
Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, but has 40% fewer calories (2.4 calories per gram) and doesn’t spike your blood sugar. This makes it an ideal ingredient for sugar-free gums, candies, lozenges, and mints. In addition to adding guilt-free sweetness into your life, xylitol is a safe, natural remedy for dry mouth—and there’s evidence to back it up.
In this article, you’ll learn how xylitol stimulates saliva production, how to incorporate it into your daily routine, and how long it takes to get results.
How Does Xylitol Relieve Dry Mouth?
Xylitol naturally increases saliva production, which helps alleviate dry mouth. Xylitol’s molecular structure stimulates the taste receptors for sweetness on your tongue. This sends a signal to your salivary glands to produce more saliva.
In short: xylitol induces the same saliva-producing effect as regular sugar, without the extra calories and net carbohydrates.
Scientists have been studying xylitol’s effects on dry mouth for decades. Here are some key findings:
- A 2007 trial published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation found that xylitol toothpastes and mouth sprays significantly increased saliva flow and relieved dry mouth after one week of daily use.
- A 2016 study found that topical xylitol products significantly improved symptoms of dry mouth for radiotherapy patients after 15 days of use.
How to Use Xylitol for Dry Mouth
Xylitol should be applied topically (meaning direct contact with your mouth) every day to treat chronic dry mouth. Here are a few ways you can add xylitol into your daily routine.
1. Brush Your Teeth with Xylitol Toothpaste
The act of brushing your teeth itself stimulates saliva production. But when you use xylitol toothpaste, it adds an extra boost. Xylitol “tricks'' your salivary glands into thinking there's sugar around, prompting them to activate. By increasing your saliva flow, xylitol toothpaste moisturizes your mouth and provides a natural defense against dryness.
Xylitol is a natural, healthier alternative to many of the artificial sweeteners used in regular toothpaste. That’s why we use organic xylitol in all of our formulas. Still curious? Check out our ultimate guide to xylitol toothpaste.
2. Use Xylitol Mouth Spray
Supplementing with a xylitol mouth spray is an easy way to keep your mouth hydrated on the go or in between brushes—it’s also one of the most-researched dry mouth products.
A lot of mouth sprays are one-dimensional—that’s why we created Balance: a multifunctional mouth spray that fights dry mouth, balances your oral microbiome, provides neuro support, and delivers a daily dose of five liquid vitamins.
For adults we recommend doses three times per day after meals, or as recommended by a healthcare professional. After spraying, hold for 10 seconds and swallow.
3. Chew Xylitol Gum
Most people assume chewing gum freshens your breath because of the mint flavor. But it also prevents bad breath by stimulating salivary flow throughout your mouth—especially if the gum is sweetened with xylitol.
Xylitol-infused gum produces the same effects as the toothpaste and mouth spray mentioned above. Once your taste buds sense the sweetness, your salivary glands get to work.
How Long Does It Take for Xylitol to Work?
Xylitol can rapidly stimulate saliva production and alleviate dry mouth symptoms—often in as little as a couple of minutes. If your mouth is dry, using xylitol-infused toothpaste or mouth spray should provide fast relief.
For longer-term benefits, such as the reduction of harmful bacteria and the prevention of tooth decay associated with dry mouth, consistent use of xylitol over several weeks may be more effective.
Regardless, incorporating xylitol into your daily oral care routine can help you maintain a healthier oral environment.
Is Xylitol Safe?
Xylitol is generally safe for most adults when consumed in moderation and has long been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for consumption.
Ingesting large amounts of xylitol at one time may cause digestive issues like cramping and bloating. However, one study found that people who consumed a maximum daily intake of 400+ grams of xylitol tolerated it without any negative side effects.
While xylitol is safe for people, it’s definitely not safe for pets. Xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs. If your furry friend consumes it, take them to the veterinarian ASAP.
Other Oral Health Benefits of Xylitol
Aside from being a natural sweetener that stimulates salivation, xylitol provides several key oral health benefits:
- Xylitol Prevents Plaque Buildup: A 2017 review found that xylitol inhibits mutans streptococci (MS), the bacteria that causes plaque buildup
- Xylitol Increases Calcium Absorption: Animal studies suggest that xylitol helps your teeth absorb calcium, which keeps them strong and resilient.
- Xylitol Prevents Cavities: Research from 2011 suggests xylitol products can reduce the risk of cavities by up to 85%.
- Xylitol Reduces Gum Inflammation: By limiting plaque buildup, xylitol can reduce inflammation along the gum line and prevent gingivitis.
Fight Dry Mouth Around the Clock
When used together, our xylitol toothpastes and mouth spray form a dynamic duo that fights dry mouth all day long. Say goodbye to single-use products with sketchy ingredients. At Better & Better, we’re focused on oral care solutions that keep your whole mouth healthy from the inside out.
From moisturizing xylitol to energy-boosting B12 to breath-freshening zinc, you get all the nutrients you need to maintain your oral health—without any artificial junk. Browse our whole collection and upgrade your routine today.