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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.

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International Institute for Preventive Dentistry, University of Turku, Finland.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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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