Caries in 4-year-old children after maternal chewing of gums containing combinations of xylitol, sorbitol, chlorhexidine and fluoride

Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. 2006 Dec;7(4):241-5. doi: 10.1007/BF03262559.


Aim: To evaluate the effect of maternal use of chewing gums containing combinations of xylitol, sorbitol, chlorhexidine and fluoride on caries prevalence in a group of mother's 4-year-old children.

Study design: Randomised controlled trial.

Methods: After screening 416 women with newborn babies, 173 mothers with high counts of salivary mutans streptococci (MS) were randomly assigned into three experimental chewing gum groups containing A) xylitol (n=61), B) chlorhexidine/xylitol/sorbitol (n=55), and C) sodium fluoride/xylitol/sorbitol (n=57). The intervention started when each child was 6 months old, was terminated one year later. All of the mothers were instructed to chew one piece of the appropriate gum for 5 minutes, three times a day. The outcome measure was the presence of cavitated and non-cavitated (enamel) lesions in the primary dentitions of the children at the age of 4 years.

Results: The drop-out rate in the experimental groups was 15-20%. The mean defs, on examination at aged 4 years was 0.4 +/-1.0 in group A, 0.7 +/-1.7 in group B and 1.4 +/-3.0 in group C. The difference between group A and C was statistically significant (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Less caries was observed in children of mothers who chewed gums with xylitol as the single sweetener during the time of eruption of the first primary teeth compared with those who used gums containing fluoride, sorbitol and lower amounts of xylitol.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Cariostatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Chewing Gum*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlorhexidine / administration & dosage
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / microbiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Fluorides, Topical / administration & dosage
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Sorbitol / administration & dosage
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcal Infections / transmission
  • Streptococcus mutans / drug effects
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xylitol / administration & dosage*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Chewing Gum
  • Drug Combinations
  • Fluorides, Topical
  • Sorbitol
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Xylitol