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Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry

Edited by Prof. Dr. Jean-François Roulet, Prof. Dr. Dr. Niklaus P. Lang, Prof. Dr. Palle Holmstrup

Official journal of the Academy of Minimally Invasive Dentistry, the World Congress of Microdentistry, and the European Society of Preventive Dentistry

ISSN (print) 1602-1622 • ISSN (online) 1757-9996


Fall 2003
Volume 1 , Issue 3

Pages: 195-199
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Effect of Xylitol-containing Chewing Gums on Lactic Acid Production in Dental Plaque from Caries Active Pre-school Children

Twetman, S. / Stecksén-Blicks, C.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the lactic acid concentration in supragingival plaque from caries-active pre-school children after a short-term use of either xylitol- or sorbitol-containing chewing gums. The investigation consisted of a prospective crossover design with 10 healthy children aged 2–4 years each with at least two caries lesions within the dentine (ds ≥ 2). The children were instructed to chew 6 pieces of a test or a control gum every day for a 14-day period. The test gum contained 65% xylitol and the control gum was sweetened with sorbitol. At baseline and after 14 days, salivary mutans streptococci were enumerated with a chair-side test (Strip mutans) and dental plaque was collected from the upper maxillary incisors. After a washout period of 6 weeks, the same procedure was repeated with the corresponding test or control gum. Lactic acid was determined enzymatically in glucose-challenged plaque suspensions. The lactic acid concentration was significantly reduced (p<0.05) by 22% compared with baseline following the xylitol gum regimen but was unaltered after the control gum. The levels of salivary mutans streptococci were mainly unaffected by both chewing gums. A 14-day use of xylitol-containing chewing gums, corresponding to a daily amount of 5 grams of xylitol, could diminish glucose-initiated lactic acid formation in supragingival plaque in caries-active pre-school children.

Keywords: caries, chewing gum, lactic acid, xylitol

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