Six-month polyol chewing-gum programme in kindergarten-age children: a feasibility study focusing on mutans streptococci and dental plaque

Int Dent J. 2005 Apr;55(2):81-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1875-595x.2005.tb00038.x.


Aim: To investigate the use of polyol-containing chewing gums in a day-care centre (kindergarten) setting as a means to affect the growth of mutans streptococci and dental plaque.

Design: Over a period of six months, 123 five-year-old children chewed xylitol (X group), sorbitol (G group), or did not chew gum (C group). Consumption of xylitol, and sorbitol was 4.5 to 5.0 g per day and subjects consumed in five supervised daily chewing episodes four at the day-care centres and one at home.

Methods: Interproximal dental plaque was sampled at baseline and after six months for a laboratory study of mutans streptococci counts. The Quigley & Hein plaque index procedure was used. Interviews and questionnaires elucidated the acceptability of the programme.

Results: Parents and kindergarten personnel regarded the programme as an important, additional procedure to promote better oral health. The children regarded the use of chewing gum as a pleasurable experience. Compared with groups G and C, there was a statistically significant reduction of mutans streptococci in the interproximal plaque in the X group. The Quigley & Hein plaque index scores tended to decrease in the X group, while no such trend was observed in the G group.

Conclusions: Habitual use of relatively small daily quantities of polyol-containing chewing gum by young children may be regarded as an important additional caries-preventive procedure in a combined day-care centre and home setting. Especially xylitol-containing chewing gum may significantly reduce the growth of mutans streptococci and dental plaque which may be associated with dental caries.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Chewing Gum*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Plaque / drug therapy*
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea
  • Male
  • Polymers / therapeutic use
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sorbitol / therapeutic use*
  • Streptococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Streptococcus mutans / drug effects*
  • Streptococcus sobrinus / drug effects*
  • Sweetening Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Xylitol / therapeutic use*


  • Chewing Gum
  • Polymers
  • Sweetening Agents
  • polyol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol