Will parents participate in and comply with programs and regimens using xylitol for preventing acute otitis media in their children?

Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2015 Apr;46(2):127-40. doi: 10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0048.


Purpose: Antiadhesive properties in xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol, can help prevent acute otitis media (AOM) in children by inhibiting harmful bacteria from colonizing and adhering to oral and nasopharyngeal areas and traveling to the Eustachian tube and middle ear. This study investigated parents' willingness to use and comply with a regimen of xylitol for preventing AOM in their preschool- and kindergarten-aged children.

Method: An Internet questionnaire was designed and administered to parents of young children in preschool and kindergarten settings.

Results: Most parents were unaware of xylitol's use for AOM and would not likely comply with regimens for preventing AOM in their children; however, parents having previous knowledge of xylitol and whose children had a history of AOM would be more likely to do so.

Conclusions: Generally, most of these parents did not know about xylitol and probably would not use it to prevent ear infections. Unfortunately, these results parallel earlier findings for teachers and schools, which present obstacles for establishing ear infection prevention programs using similar protocols for young children. The results showed that considerable education and age-appropriate vehicles for administering xylitol are needed before establishing AOM prevention programs in schools and/or at home.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chewing Gum*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Otitis Media / prevention & control*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Xylitol / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Chewing Gum
  • Xylitol