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Xylitol and its usage in ENT practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 July 2014

Ö Sakallioğlu
Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Elazığ Research and Training Hospital, Turkey
I Adadan Güvenç*
Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Başkent University, Zübeyde Hanım Research and Training Hospital, İzmir, Turkey
C Cingi
Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, University of Osmangazi, Eskişehir, Turkey
Address for correspondence: Dr I Adadan Guvenc, Başkent Üniversitesi, Zübeyde Hanım Araştırmave Uygulama Hastanesi, 6471/5 Sokak No: 7, Karşıyaka, İzmir, Turkey Fax: +90 232 336 48 49 E-mail:



Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol. Natural sources of xylitol include plums, strawberries and raspberries. Xylitol is commercially available in chewing gums, lozenges, syrups, nasal sprays, toothpastes, mouthwashes and other products in some countries. It has gained relative prominence in the past decade as a naturally occurring antibacterial agent.


A review of contemporary literature was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of xylitol usage in ENT practice.


The English-language literature was searched using the following terms: xylitol, otitis media, nasal, sinusitis, dental caries and preventive therapy. The articles identified were included in this review.


Xylitol has no antibacterial properties of its own; rather, it appears to enhance the body's own innate immunity. Xylitol has anti-adhesive effects on micro-organisms like Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus mutans, inhibiting their growth. Xylitol has already been used for preventing otitis media, rhinosinusitis and dental caries. The worldwide spread of drug-resistant strains of pneumococci substantiates the need for new approaches to prevent ENT-related infectious diseases.


Xylitol may be a promising agent for this purpose in ENT practice, but further experimental and clinical studies are required.

Review Articles
Copyright © JLO (1984) Limited 2014 

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