The effect of chewing sugar-free gum after meals on clinical caries incidence

Publication Name: J Am Dent Assoc. 1998 Nov; 129(11): 1623-6.

Author(s): Beiswanger BB, Boneta AE, Mau MS, Katz BP, Proskin HM, and Stookey GK | Publication Year: 1998

Abstract

To determine the effect of chewing sugar-free gum on caries incidence, the authors conducted a randomized clinical study. A total of 1,402 children in Puerto Rico, in grades 5 through 7 at baseline, completed the study. They were randomized by classroom into a control group or chewing gum group; those in the gum group were instructed to chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after each of three meals a day. Clinical and radiographic evaluations were performed at baseline and after two and three years. The results show that all subjects and high-risk subjects, respectively, in the gum group developed 7.9 percent and 11.0 percent fewer decayed, missing or filled surfaces than subjects in the control group. Based on these findings, the authors concluded that chewing sorbitol-based sugar-free gum after eating significantly reduces the incidence of dental caries.

Summary

This three-year randomised clinical study in 1,402 children in Puerto Rico showed that chewing sugar-free gum after eating promotes dental health. Specifically, chewing sugar-free gum sweetened with low calorie sweeteners for 20 minutes after each of three times a day, resulted in 7.9 percent and 11.0 percent fewer decayed, missing or filled surfaces than subjects in the control group. In conclusion, together with practicing normal oral hygiene, an after-meal gum chewing can be beneficial to reducing the incidence of dental carries.