Assessment of the Tri-County Area Dental Hygienists' Knowledge of Xylitol

Johnson, Jennifer, Melissa McGowan, Brandie Marlow, and Sthphanie Trapp


Xylitol is a FDA- approved sugar substitute that can help to prevent cavities.  Dental hygienists play a significant role in providing preventative services, educating patients, and purchasing related products, it is important to understand what they know about Xylitol.  The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge and practices among Detroit Tri-County area dental hygienists regarding Xylitol. 



A 10-question survey instrument was administered using an online survey.  Participants were asked to respond to statements about Xylitol using a Likert scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree and don’t know.  Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Overall the participants responses indicated a greater level of knowledge in regards to etiology of Xylitol. However, a lower level of knowledge was revealed when questioned about anticariogenic dosage and mother to child transmission.



In many cases dental hygienists knowledge is current, however it is not always utilized in practice.   More than 95% of all participating hygienists agreed/strongly agreed that Xylitol is non-cariogenic, yet less than 77% of participating hygienists agreed/strongly agreed that they recommend Xylitol to their patients regularly.  Hygienists are the leaders of prevention and are in a position to  educate and provide resources for  patients on all different oral care aids and methods of at home care.  With this stated it is imperative for the field of hygiene to stay up to date with the effective usage and the several sources Xylitol can be found in and used in order to prevent caries.