Xylitol has been proven to help in the prevention of dental caries.
Xylitol can stop the bacterial action that creates the acids which erode tooth enamel.
So, sweets containing xylitol may inhibit tooth decay rather than cause it.
Xylitol is a naturally occuring sugar alcohol and can be purchased as a sugar substitute. It can be safely used in candies, cooking, baked goods.
There is no known toxicity level in humans.
However, it’s important to know that xylitol is dangerous for dogs. In fact, so dangerous that they could die from ingesting relatively small amounts.
Just a few sticks of gum containing xylitol can cause their blood sugar to drop precipitously, resulting in death from a severe case of hypoglycemia.
Be sure to keep anything containing xylitol away from your pet.
Interestingly, small amounts of xylitol can be safely ingested by cats, even helping reduce plaque and calculus accumulation.
Xylitol has no known toxicity in humans. In one study, the participants consumed a diet containing a monthly average of 1.5 kg of xylitol with a maximum daily intake of 430 g with no apparent ill effects.
Like most sugar alcohols, it has a laxative effect because sugar alcohols are not fully broken down during digestion; albeit one-tenth the strength of sorbitol. The effect depends upon the individual.
In one study of 13 children, four experienced diarrhea when consuming over 65 grams per day. Studies have reported adaptation occurs after several weeks of consumption.
Dogs that have ingested foods containing high levels of xylitol (greater than 100 milligrams of xylitol consumed per kilogram of bodyweight) have presented with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can be life-threatening.
Low blood sugar can result in a loss of coordination, depression, collapse and seizures in as soon as 30 minutes.
Intake of very high doses of xylitol (greater than 500 – 1000 mg/kg bwt) has also been implicated in liver failure in dogs, which can be fatal.
These are points of controversy, however, as earlier World Health Organization studies using much higher doses on dogs for long periods showed no ill effect.
A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics involved two groups of 8 Pekingese dogs fed either 1 or 4 g/kg of xylitol.
In addition to developing hypoglycemia, all of the dogs developed elevated levels of liver enzymes associated with liver damage. The dogs also developed reduced serum phosphorus and potassium, and increased serum calcium.
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/…/2007-03-18-xylitol-sweetener_N.htm