Published in the journal “Journal of Dental Research,” the study found some evidence that chewing sugar-free gum may reduce the advancement of dental caries and could be used as a viable preventative agent as opposed to non-chewing control methods, such as oral health education and supervising tooth-brushing programs alone.
It included analysis of studies published over the last 50 years, identifying 12 that explored the impact and intervention outcome of chewing sugar-free gum on oral health conditions, and in particular, dental caries on adults and children.
Sugar-free gum was found to reduce caries, giving it a preventative factor of 28 percent.
“There is a considerable degree of variability in the effect from the published data and the trials included were generally of moderate quality,” explained lead author Avijit Banerjee, Professor of Cariology and Operative Dentistry at King’s College London.
“However, we felt there was a definite need to update and refresh existing knowledge about sugar-free gum and its effect on dental caries and oral health.
“We are planning further research to determine the acceptability and feasibility of using this method in public health,” Banerjee added.
In recent years, chewing sugar-free gum has emerged as a possible supplement to existing prevention strategies in stopping the development of dental caries.
“Both the stimulation of saliva which can act as a natural barrier to protect teeth, and the mechanical plaque control that results from the act of chewing, can contribute to the prevention of dental caries.
“Sugar-free gum can also act as a carrier for antibacterial ingredients including xylitol and sorbitol.
No recent conclusive evidence existed prior to this review that showed the relationship between slowing the development of caries and chewing sugar-free gum,” Banerjee said.