As a natural sweetener, xylitol has been used in chewing gum and mints for years upon years. Recent studies from the University of Washington have shown more positive benefits to the sugar compound than previously imagined.
"Adding particles packed with antimicrobial drugs to a filling creates a line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria," says Hatton. "But traditionally there's only been enough drug to last a few weeks. Through this research we discovered a combination of drugs and silica glass that organize themselves on a molecule-by-molecule basis to maximize drug density, with enough supply to last years." This discovery of using antimicrobials which self-assemble means the team can pack 50 times as much of the bacteria-fighting drugs into the particles.