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Erythritol: A Multifunctional Natural Cariostatic Sweetening Agent in Oral Care

Contact Author Katleen Brys, Cargill R&D Centre Europe
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 Xylitol is alreadywell known as a cariostatic agent. Erythritol, on the other hand, is not. However, erythritol provides advantages in terms of taste masking and its synergistic effect with high intensity sweeteners and humectance systems. Its properties as a cariostatic agent are the subject of this article.

Erythritol

Erythritol (butane 1,2,3,4-tetrol) is a natural sugar alcohol (polyol) that occurs in a wide variety of foods, including fruits and mushrooms, and in popular fermented foods such as cheese, wine, beer, sake and soy sauce. Like all polyols, erythritol functions as a bulk sweetener (60–70% sweetness of sucrose) that is suitable for diabetics and resistant to metabolism by oral bacteria. Unlike other polyols, erythritol is noncaloric and more easily digested.

Cariostatic function: Erythritol is being used increasingly in oral care applications such as toothpastes and mouthwashes. One of its properties is the reduction of risk to develop dental
caries, as shown by in vitro studies.Erythritol is not fermented by bacteria appearing in the mouth flora,1-2 especially the Streptococcus mutans strains. These strains are also responsible for the production of dental plaque and for stimulating dental caries. A Mühlemann test3-4 was performed to demonstrate the difference between a sucrose rinse and an erythritol-based lozenge. In contrast with the sugar solution, erythritol is considered a safe-for-teeth product because the pH does not drop below the critical level of 5.7, from which demineralization of tooth enamel occurs.

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