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Saudi Med J. 2012 Feb;33(2):186-92.

Effects of xylitol on salivary mutans streptococcus, plaque level, and caries activity in a group of Saudi mother-child pairs. An 18-month clinical trial.

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Preventive Dental Sciences Department, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



To assess the effect of xylitol on salivary mutans streptococcus (MS), plaque level, and caries activity in a group of Saudi mother-child pairs.


A clinical trial of 60 mother-child pairs with high MS levels attending at King Abdulaziz University clinics were randomly grouped into experimental (received xylitol) and control (received fluoride varnish) groups (30 pairs each). The study was conducted from February 2009 to July 2010 for 18 months period. At 18 months, the sample dropped to 21 (experimental) and 13 pairs (control). Xylitol gum were given to mother and chewable tablets were given to children 3 times a day for a period of 3 months. Both groups received oral hygiene instructions, dietary counseling, and restorative treatment and examined to assess caries, plaque and MS levels at 6, 12, and 18 months.


The number of mother-child pairs with high MS level in the experimental group decreased significantly at 18 months compared to baseline (p=0.001, p=0.000). A statistically significant difference in plaque level was found between the experimental and control groups at 6 and 12 month in children (p=0.000, p=0.006), while in mother, a significant decrease was recorded in the experimental group only at 18 month compared to baseline. Control group showed statistical significant increase in caries throughout the study period (p=0.040, p=0.040).


The use of xylitol chewing gum by mother and chewable tablets by children, showed significant reduction of MS count, plaque score as well as caries experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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