Xylitol is an important polyalcohol suitable for use in odontological, medical and pharmaceutical
products and as an additive in food. The first studies on the efficacy of xylitol in the control and
treatment of infections started in the late 1970s and it is still applied for this purpose, with safety and very little contribution
to resistance. Xylitol seems to act against microorganisms exerting an anti-adherence effect. Some research studies
have demonstrated its action against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and yeasts. However, a clear explanation
of how xylitol is effective has not been completely established yet. Some evidence shows that xylitol acts on gene expression,
down-regulating the ones which are involved in the microorganisms’ virulence, such as capsule formation. Another
possible clarification is that xylitol blocks lectin-like receptors. The most important aspect is that, over time, xylitol bypasses
microbial resistance and succeeds in controlling infection, either alone or combined with another compound. In this
review, the effect of xylitol in inhibiting the growth of a different microorganism is described, focusing on studies in
which such an anti-adherent property was highlighted. This is the first mini-review to describe xylitol as an anti-adherent
compound and take into consideration how it exerts such action.
Keywords: Anti-adherence property, bacteria, biofilm dispersion, infection control, xylitol, yeast.
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