Xylitol Gum Shown to Reduce Ear Infections in Young Children
Constant ear infections are the bane of any toddler’s mom’s existence. But what if there were a gum that reduced ear infections, fought tooth decay, and was derived from natural ingredients? Believe it or not, there is. And moms are catching on.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance which has long been extracted from fruits, vegetables and birch trees to be used for health and wellness applications. What’s unique about xylitol is its natural sweetness - making it a popular alternative to sugar - coupled with the singular way that it is processed in the body.
Table sugar, or sucrose, is converted in the mouth into acids, which eat away at tooth enamels. Xylitol does not convert into acid, making it an excellent ingredient for sugar-free candy, gum, and mints; xylitol benefits include the sweet taste without the tooth decay.
Even more intriguing, multiple studies performed over the past four years have shown strong evidence that chewing xylitol gum several times a day can significantly reduce ear infections in preschool-aged children. To any mom of a young child, that is pretty amazing news. A recommended dose of about 1.8 - 2.0 grams of xylitol per piece, chewed five times a day, is believed to reduce the risk of ear infections by 25-40%. The xylitol appears to deter the growth of bacteria that can cause these infections.
Is It Worth Trying?
For a young child prone to developing ear infections with every cough, cold, or sniffle, this decrease in ear infections would make a real difference - and not just in the pain and discomfort that accompany this common childhood ailment. It also could mean reducing the amount of antibiotics ingested by each child every fall and winter by 25-40%. And keeping the number and frequency of ear infections under control can also mean the difference in whether a two-year-old needs to be placed under general anesthetic for a surgery to insert draining tubes into his inner ears.
Dr. John’s® Simply Xylitol® gum made with birch xylitol is proving to be a popular choice for moms who prefer a natural solution to help prevent ear infections in their young children. The great taste makes it easy to administer, and moms can rest easy that the gum is not promoting tooth decay - in fact, xylitol research shows gram-level dosages have been shown to reduce the development of cavities in children and adults. One caveat: the gum should be chewed regularly as a preventative measure - if you wait until your child is already coming down with a cold to begin a regimen of xylitol gum, you’ll be too late. Better to make this a regular habit, and keep those ears safe rather than sorry.