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The Science

 qii - How It Works - pH Levels

Arch enemies: acid and your teeth

When your teeth are exposed to acids, it can cause erosion of the enamel and any exposed dentin. The critical pH of these surfaces are 5.5 and 6.5, respectively.1,2 The pH from most commercial beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit juices and bottled teas are much lower than those critical pH points.3 The reason is for products to maintain flavour, texture and improve shelf life. qii is different. It’s formulated to have a shelf-stable pH around 7 so it contributes to a neutral, non-acidic oral environment.

An entire community of microbes inside us 

There’s an entire community of microbes, or bacteria, in our bodies that play an important role in regulating bodily function. In fact, there are more bacteria in our bodies than human cells! This community is called the human microbiome and its members have the power to benefit, protect, or harm us.4,5

The most commonly understood bacterial community lives in our gut. We’re already familiar with using beneficial bacteria, like probiotics, to positively regulate our gut and immune functions. At qii, we’re looking at the microbiome beyond the gut: the microbiome inside our mouths.

A look inside our mouths

The mouth harbors one of the most diverse microbiomes in the body. We’re focused on understanding how bacteria can trigger cavities, periodontal disease, and bad breath. And on the types of positive bacteria that are associated with healthy mouths. We’re finding ways to selectively eliminate bad bacteria while saving populations of the good.

The battle between good and bad

Our mouths provides a fertile environment for bacteria: host-derived nutrients (like saliva) and a constant source of nutrients through the food we eat. The tooth surface also provides the only natural, non-shedding surface on the human body. Which is an ideal place for bacteria to adhere to and grow, in the form of biofilm, or plaque. Normally, there’s a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria that live as plaque, but this balance can change very quickly where the bad outnumber the good - a condition known as dysbiosis. For instance, a diet high in sugar can allow the bad bacteria to ferment the sugar, which results in acid production by the bacteria. This in turn allows the acid-tolerant bad bacteria to grow disproportionately within the plaque, leading to a shift in the balance of good and bad bacteria. The acidic environment created by the bad bacteria can lead to the progression of cavities.6 Other oral diseases caused by dysbiosis include periodontal disease and bad breath.7,8

Starve them out

What keeps our oral microbiome and biofilm formation in control is a regular oral health regimen. Brushing, rinsing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist can keep your oral health in check. However, despite our best efforts this isn’t always enough to keep oral disease under control. At qii, we wanted to tackle the food sources of bad bacteria and develop ways to keep you healthy from morning to night. Our initial area of research has centered around xylitol, a sugar alcohol originally discovered in birch tree bark that has proven oral health properties.9 Cavity-causing bad bacteria attempt, but cannot ferment xylitol which leads to their starvation and reduction within the oral microbiome.10 As an ingredient, xylitol has been used for decades in food and oral care products, but its power hasn’t been fully exploited until now.

Our secret weapon

We've studied the non-cariogenic properties of xylitol and amplified it to develop qii. For most individuals, excess consumption of xylitol can produce a laxative effect which is why it's not commonly used. Our research has focused on two things: i) amplifying xylitol effectiveness against pathogenic species of the oral biofilm, and ii) reducing effective dosages to prevent an unwanted digestive reflex. The end product in qii is XyVita™, a unique xylitol formulation which is highly effective in small amounts so there aren't any digestive discomfort. When delivered alongside a neutral pH solution, XyVita™ can effectively disrupt biofilm formation from certain pathogenic bacteria (Streptococcus mutans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Solobacterium moorei).

We think this is a breakthrough result! XyVita™ is now ready to become a cornerstone ingredient in our daytime defense against oral disease.


1. Hicks J, Garcia-Godoy F, Flaitz C. 2005. Biological factors in dental caries enamel structure and the caries process in the dynamic process of demineralization and remineralization (part 2). J Clin Pediatr Dent. 29(2): 119-24. 

2. Delgado AJ, Olafsson VG. 2017. Acidic oral moisturizers with pH below 6.7 may be harmful to teeth depending on formulation: a short report. Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. 9: 81-3. 

3. Reddy A, Norris DF, Momeni SS, Waldo B, Ruby JD. 2016. The pH of beverages in the United States. J Am Dent Assoc. 147(4): 255-63.

4.Lozupone CA, Stombaugh JI, Gordon JI, Jansson JK, Knight R. 2012. Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota. Nature. 489: 220-30.

5.  Blaser M, Bork P, Fraser C, Knight R, Wang J. 2013. The microbiome explored: recent insights and future challenges. Nat Rev Microbiol. 11: 213-7.

6.  Sampaio-Maia B, Caldas IM, Pereira ML, Pérez-Mongiovi D, Araujo R. 2016. The oral microbiome in health and its implication in oral and systemic diseases. Adv Appl Microbiol. 97: 171-210.

7. Kilian M, Chapple IL, Hannig M, Marsh PD, Meuric V, Pedersen AM, Tonetti MS, Wade WG, Zaura E. 2016. The oral microbiome - an update for oral healthcare professionals. Br Dent J. 221:657-66.

8. Takeshita T, Suzuki N, Nakano Y, Yasui M, Yoneda M, Shimazaki Y, Hirofuji T, Yamashita Y. 2012. Discrimination of the oral microbiota associated with high hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan production. Sci Rep. 2:215.

9. Mäkinen KK. 2011. Sugar alcohol sweeteners as alternatives to sugar with special consideration of xylitol. Med Princ Pract. 20:303-20.

10. Miyasawa-Hori H, Aizawa S, Takahashi N. 2006. Difference in the xylitol sensitivity of acid production among Streptococcus mutans strains and the biochemical mechanism. Oral Microbiol Immunol. 21:201-5.