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ASDC J Dent Child. 2002 Jan-Apr;69(1):81-6, 13.

Effect of xylitol chewing gum on salivary Streptococcus mutans in preschool children.

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Department of Operative Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.


Dental caries remains a significant problem for poor children in the United States. One strategy for treating dental caries is to suppress streptococcus mutans, the chief pathogen responsible for the disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of xylitol gum in salivary S. mutans levels in preschool children. Sixty-one children were randomly assigned into the xylitol group and the control group. The xylitol group chewed gum sweetened only with xylitol (XyliFresh100%, Hershey Food Corporation, U.S.A.) three times a day for three weeks. S. mutans counts were tested using the Dentocult-SM Strip Mutans-test (Orion Diagnostica, Finland) at baseline and after three weeks. The shift from higher S. mutans scores to lower was greater in the xylitol group than in the control group (p;lt0.05). This study supports the suggestion that chewing xylitol gum may reduce salivary S. mutans levels. Xylitol chewing gum may provide a feasible caries prevention method for preschool children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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