Proof Behind the Pops

The research is in: Our pops are tops!


A study published in Caries Research shows that erythritol may be better for tooth health than sorbitol or xylitol. The three-year clinical study found that erythritol provided a significant reduction in cavities, dental plaque, and the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans, considered a major cause of tooth decay.

Conducted by the University of Tartu’s Department of Stomatology, this is the first study to compare the long-term dental benefits of erythritol to two other polyol sweeteners. Polyols are sweetening compounds that contain fewer calories than sugar and do not promote tooth decay.

In the double-blind, randomized, controlled study, researchers followed 485 elementary school kids. Throughout the three-year period, the children were given 2.5g of polyol candies three times per day during their 200 school days each year. One group got erythritol, the others received xylitol and sorbitol. The participants’ teeth were assessed using the International Caries Detection and Assessment System. Students in the erythritol group showed the greatest reduction in cavity development.

Researchers found that erythritol slowed the development of cavities and reduced the need for dentist intervention as compared to sorbitol and xylitol. Erythritol reduced dental plaque weight by 24% in a 3-year study period, while xylitol and sorbitol caused little to no change. Erythritol also lowered the levels of the Streptococcus mutans bacteria better than xylitol and sorbitol.

Erythritol occurs naturally in low amounts in fruits like grapes and pears, and in fermented foods, including cheese, wine, and soy sauce. It is produced commercially through a yeast fermentation process. Erythritol contains zero calories and has no glycemic effect. Because erythritol is similar in taste, sweetness quality, and mouth feel to sugar, it is used in a wide range of products, including oral healthcare, beverage, confectionery, bakery, and dairy products.

Source: Excerpt from September 16, 2014, Published in Caries Research

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