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Int Dent J. 1995 Feb;45(1 Suppl 1):93-107.

Stabilisation of rampant caries: polyol gums and arrest of dentine caries in two long-term cohort studies in young subjects.

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School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


The purpose of this paper is to report clinical observations on the stabilisation of dentine caries in two chewing gum studies carried out in young subjects. One study focused on the permanent dentition of 1,277 initially 10-year old subjects, while the other study was carried out on 510 initially 6-year old subjects and focused on the primary dentition. In both trials, several chewing gum formulas containing dietary polyols (xylitol and sorbitol, or their combinations) were used for up to 40 months (10-year olds) or up to 24 months (6-year olds). The daily consumption level of both polyols was up to 10.7 g per subject, used normally in 5-minute chewing episodes 3 to 5 times per day. Supervised chewing in schools lasted 5 min per episode, and for variable times during non-school days. Rehardening of dentine caries lesions was observed clinically by experienced, blinded examiners using sharp dental explorers and fibre optic light. After 40 months (permanent dentition) or after 18 months (primary dentition), rehardening (caries arrest) generally occurred more frequently in subjects who used polyol gums than in subjects who did not receive gum as part of the programmes, or who received sucrose gum. Arrest or non-progression of dentine caries was most frequently observed in subjects who used 100 per cent xylitol gums or mixtures of xylitol and sorbitol, but the differences between gums were not consistently significant. However, the usage of 100 per cent xylitol pellet-shaped gum was more frequently associated with arrest of dentine caries than other treatments. These results and previous studies suggest that high-xylitol chewing gum usage can retard or arrest even rampant dentine caries in conditions where effective restoration and prevention programmes have not been instituted, and can also provide additional protection against further caries development during full implementation of restorative procedures by holding the lesion in a non-progressive condition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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