Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Study finds chewing gum could help fight dental caries

By Dental Tribune International
November 25, 2019

LONDON, UK: Though the relative benefits of chewing gum are often subject to debate, a number of studies have shown that the sugar-free varieties can promote oral health. On this topic, a recent review has found some evidence that chewing sugar-free gum could help to reduce the further development of dental caries in both adults and children.

The systematic review was conducted by researchers from King’s College London. They identified and subsequently analysed 12 studies published over the last 50 years that explored the impact on oral health and the intervention outcomes of chewing sugar-free gum.

The research team found that chewing sugar-free gum reduces the incidence of dental caries by 28% and that it could be used as a possible preventive agent in combination with oral health education and supervised toothbrushing initiatives. However, the researchers were quick to clarify that their findings were far from definitive for a number of reasons.

“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 Dr 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 continued.

Previous studies have shown that chewing gum can increase the level of certain vitamins in blood plasma, as reported last year by Dental Tribune International. The specific relationship between the development of dental caries and chewing sugar-free gum had not previously been explored, according to Banerjee.

The study, titled “A systematic review and meta-analysis of the role of sugar-free chewing gum in dental caries”, was published online on 19 November 2019 in the Journal of Dental Research: Clinical and Translational Research, ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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