THE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO
THE MOST EXTENSIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE INTRODUCTION TO XYLITOL THAT YOU’LL FIND ANYWHERE
XYLITOL AND EAR INFECTIONS
It’s a fact of nature, babies get ear infections. Some get them more often than others, but every baby will suffer with a few during their early life. Unfortunately, ear infections are something that can continue on through the toddler years and even into adulthood. Most pediatricians and doctors will prescribe antibiotics, but there’s a natural way to help you or your little one through an ear infection.
Xylitol is a gentle, effective solution to ear infection troubles. Xylitol is made from the cell walls of most land plants and is even produced naturally by the human body in small amounts. Most sugars promote the growth of bacteria, but the bacteria cannot metabolize xylitol, which causes them to essentially “starve” off.
As you’ve probably read in “Chapter 3: Xylitol in Oral Care” of our xylitol guide, xylitol has been shown to prevent dental cavities by inhibiting Streptococcus mutans, which is the main cavity causing bacteria. So what does this have to do with ear infections? One of the main causes of ear infections is the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is closely related to Streptococcus mutans.
Since xylitol had been known to help inhibit such a similar bacteria, researchers in Finland tested xylitol on Streptococcus pneumoniae and published their findings in the British Medical Journal (November 1996).
They tested children whom had a history of repeated ear infections. Half of the children were given two pieces of xylitol-sweetened chewing gum five times a day after meals and snacks. The other half of the children were given ordinary chewing gum containing no xylitol. During the 2 month study, 21% of the non-xylitol gum chewers experienced one or more ear infections; only 12% of the xylitol gum chewers experienced a repeated ear infection.
Similar results have been found in other studies testing the same hypothesis. In 1998 a similar study by the same authors confirmed the results as well as in 2004 when researchers showed the damage xylitol has on Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is thought the xylitol weakens the bacteria and prevents it from growing.
For results, the xylitol must be consumed at least five times a day for it to effectively reduce the bacteria and reduce ear infections.