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Int Dent J. 2005 Apr;55(2):81-8.

Six-month polyol chewing-gum programme in kindergarten-age children: a feasibility study focusing on mutans streptococci and dental plaque.

Author information

1
International Institute for Preventive Dentistry, University of Turku, Finland. kauko.makinen@uusikaupunki.fi

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate the use of polyol-containing chewing gums in a day-care centre (kindergarten) setting as a means to affect the growth of mutans streptococci and dental plaque.

DESIGN:

Over a period of six months, 123 five-year-old children chewed xylitol (X group), sorbitol (G group), or did not chew gum (C group). Consumption of xylitol, and sorbitol was 4.5 to 5.0 g per day and subjects consumed in five supervised daily chewing episodes four at the day-care centres and one at home.

METHODS:

Interproximal dental plaque was sampled at baseline and after six months for a laboratory study of mutans streptococci counts. The Quigley & Hein plaque index procedure was used. Interviews and questionnaires elucidated the acceptability of the programme.

RESULTS:

Parents and kindergarten personnel regarded the programme as an important, additional procedure to promote better oral health. The children regarded the use of chewing gum as a pleasurable experience. Compared with groups G and C, there was a statistically significant reduction of mutans streptococci in the interproximal plaque in the X group. The Quigley & Hein plaque index scores tended to decrease in the X group, while no such trend was observed in the G group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Habitual use of relatively small daily quantities of polyol-containing chewing gum by young children may be regarded as an important additional caries-preventive procedure in a combined day-care centre and home setting. Especially xylitol-containing chewing gum may significantly reduce the growth of mutans streptococci and dental plaque which may be associated with dental caries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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