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J Am Dent Assoc. 2006 Feb;137(2):190-6.

The use of sorbitol- and xylitol-sweetened chewing gum in caries control.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 109 Observatory St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109-2029, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Am Dent Assoc. 2006 Apr;137(4):447.



The author compared the caries-inhibitory action of sorbitol- and xylitol-sweetened chewing gum and assessed the role of these products in caries prevention.


The author reviewed studies including randomized field trials with substantial numbers of participants and observational studies. He did not review case studies. He found studies through a MEDLINE search and by hand searching.


When compared with sugar-sweetened gum, sorbitol-sweetened gum had low cariogenicity [corrected] when it was chewed no more than three times per day. Xylitol-sweetened gum was noncariogenic in all of the protocols tested. Some studies claimed that xylitol-sweetened gum had an anticariogenic effect, though these claims need further study. There also is good evidence that when mothers of infants and young children chew xylitol-sweetened gum, it will block transmission of mutans streptococci from mother to child.


The evidence is strong enough to support the regular use of xylitol-sweetened gum as a way to prevent caries, and it can be promoted as a public-health preventive measure. Chewing xylitol-sweetened gum, especially for patients who like chewing gum, can be fitted readily into a regimen that includes frequent fluoride exposure, good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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