Xylitol is a natural, sugar substitute that comes from birch trees, fruits, vegetables, and corn. While it looks and tastes like sugar, xylitol has fewer calories and does not raise blood sugar levels like sugar does.
More importantly, numerous studies have shown a significant decrease in the cavity rate of children who are exposed to xylitol regularly at an early age, preferably beginning before the first baby tooth erupts. The primary reason being that when used frequently, the cavity causing bacteria are never given a chance to grow and multiply. As a result, these children are much less likely to experience dental decay during childhood, which in turn translates directly to a lower likelihood of dental cavities as an adult.
The use of xylitol against dental caries was first recommended by the National Institutes of Health consensus conference in March 2001.