Sugar alcohols, caries incidence, and remineralization of caries lesions: a literature review.
Int J Dent. 2010;2010:981072. Epub 2010 Jan 5. PMID: 20339492
Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku, Lemminkäisenkatu 2, 20520 Turku, Finland.
Remineralization of minor enamel defects is a normal physiological process that is well known to clinicians and researchers in dentistry and oral biology. This process can be facilitated by various dietary and oral hygiene procedures and may also concern dentin caries lesions. Dental caries is reversible if detected and treated sufficiently early. Habitual use of xylitol, a sugar alcohol of the pentitol type, can be associated with significant reduction in caries incidence and with tooth remineralization. Other dietary polyols that can remarkably lower the incidence of caries include erythritol which is a tetritol-type alditol. Based on known molecular parameters of simple dietary alditols, it is conceivable to predict that their efficacy in caries prevention will follow the homologous series, that is, that the number of OH-groups present in the alditol molecule will determine the efficacy as follows: erythritol>/= xylitol>sorbitol. The possible difference between erythritol and xylitol must be confirmed in future clinical trials.