The Truth about Sorbitol - truthpaste
May 09, 2022

The Truth about Sorbitol

By Marisa Battrick


We take the feedback of our customers and stockists very seriously. For a while now we’ve been looking into how to keep your Truthpaste fresher for longer, without compromising on that ‘dentist fresh’ feel that we get so many lovely reviews about. 

We don’t have such a thing as a secret ingredient at Truthpaste. Honesty has always been our policy. And in line with that very policy, we can share that our research and trials have lead us to add sorbitol to our ingredients list. 

What is Sorbitol?

Sorbitol is a form of carbohydrate - often referred to as a ‘sugar alcohol’ or ‘polyol’. Discovered in 1872 in the fresh juice of mountain ash berries by French chemist Joseph Boussingault, it is naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables and berries. It’s versatility has made it a popular ingredient in a multitude of products that we use today from cough mixture to chewing gum and skincare products for it’s thickening, moistening and sweetening properties. It’s often used as a sugar substitute for diabetics. 

What is Sorbitol made from?

Whilst sorbitol is naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables such as plums, apples and pears, it is also commercially produced using either potatoes or corn. When processed it appears as a fine white powder. Our sorbitol comes from French corn and wheat starches and is certified non-GMO.

What is sorbitol used for?

Sorbitol is found in a great many oral care products, such as mouthwashes, gels and toothpaste. You will often find it used alongside xylitol. Both have been proven to benefit the teeth and gums in similar ways.

Sorbitol is what is classed as a humectant. It is used in cosmetics to help retain moisture and stop products from drying out, as well as improving texture and feel.  

Is Sorbitol good for teeth?

A common misconception with sorbitol, and to an extent xylitol, is the idea that, as a sugar substitute, it must be bad for your oral health by its very nature. However, studies show that both xylitol and sorbitol can reduce the risk of caries (decay) by raising the pH of saliva, reduce the bacteria associated with forming plaque, and aid in remineralisation. 


Sorbitol and Oral Microbiota

A 2018 study showed that sorbitol can increase the abundance of the good bacteria known as S. cristatus,  that work to fight various bacteria that can cause cavities and caries.

In particular, the S. cristatus were found to have a profound effect in fighting and treating chronic Periodontitis, a form of gum disease. 




Rafeek, R. et al (2018) Xylitol and sorbitol effects on the microbiome of saliva and plaque. Journal of Oral Microbiology

Teo, G. et al, AM (2006). Silencing leaf sorbitol synthesis alters long-distance partitioning and apple fruit quality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 

Commission of the European Communities (1985)  Reports of the Scientific Committee for Food concerning sweeteners. Sixteenth Series. Report EUR 10210 EN. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.(1982) Toxicological evaluation of certain food additives: sorbitol. Twenty-sixth report. WHO Technical Report Series 683, pp. 218-228. Geneva.



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