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Iran J Microbiol. 2012 Jun;4(2):75-81.

Effect of xylitol on cariogenic and beneficial oral streptococci: a randomized, double-blind crossover trial.

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Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Although habitual consumption of xylitol reduces cariogenic streptococci levels, its effect on beneficial oral streptococci is less clear. The main aim of the study is to investigate the effect of short-term xylitol consumption on the oral beneficial streptococci level of saliva, Streptococcus sanguinis and S. mitis.


Twenty four volunteers with a median age of 23.7 years (range: 20-28) harboring Streptococcus mutans, S. sobrinus, S. sanguinis and S. mitis participated in the randomized, double-blind, cross-over study. The experimental chewing gum (1.5 g/pellet) contained 70% xylitol w/w while the control gum contained 63% sorbitol w/w. Saliva samples were collected before and after two three-week test periods with a four-week washout interval. Colony-forming units (CFU)/ml were enumerated for the estimation of S. mutans levels on Mitis Salivarius-Mutans valinomycin (MS-MUTV), S. sobrinus on Mitis Salivarius-Sobrinus (MS-SOB), S. sanguinis on Modified Medium 10-Sucrose (MM10-S) and S. mitis on Mitis Salivarius Agar with Tellurite (MSAT) media.


The S. mutans and S. sobrinus counts of the saliva samples decreased significantly (p = 0.01 and p = 0.011, respectively) in the xylitol gum group but not in the sorbitol gum group. The salivary S. sanguinis and S. mitis counts did not decrease in both xylitol and sorbitol gum groups.


Based on the findings of this study, xylitol consumption reduced S. mutans and S. sobrinus counts in saliva but appeared not to effect numbers of S. sanguinis and S. mitis in saliva. So, habitual consumption of xylitol reduces cariogenic streptococci levels without any effect on beneficial sterptococci for the oral cavity.


Cariogenic agents; Chewing gum; Sorbitol; Streptococcus; Xylitol


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