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J Clin Dent. 1997;8(6):159-62.

Chewing gum and saliva in oral health.

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Faculty of Dentistry, University of Hong Kong.


The crucial role played by many properties of saliva in preventing dental caries, maintaining the plaque pH and controlling the equilibrium between enamel de- and remineralization has been demonstrated. This has been documented by the effects of salivary dysfunction on caries incidence and by the distribution of sites of caries predilection in areas where saliva presence is restricted. The use of sugar-free chewing gum has been increasingly accepted as one adjunct to oral hygiene procedures. It has become part of an anti-caries prevention program, especially in patients suffering from xerostomia. Chewing gum not only acts as a salivary stimulant but may also be a useful vehicle for some agents such as fluoride, chlorhexidine and calcium phosphate. Moreover, in some countries gum containing nicotine has been used to substitute the nicotine from cigarettes to reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal reaction from people attempting to stop smoking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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