The potential of dental-protective chewing gum in oral health interventions

J Am Dent Assoc. 2008 May;139(5):553-63. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2008.0215.


Background: The authors provide an overview of chewing gum as a delivery vehicle for dental-protective agents, highlighting xylitol and its potential application in caries-prevention programs for children.

Types of studies reviewed: The authors reviewed selected clinical investigations and previous reviews associated with chewing gum containing substances such as calcium, bicarbonate, carbamide, chlorhexidine, fluoride and xylitol and their effects on reducing caries. They searched the MEDLINE database by using the key words "dental caries," "oral health," "calcium," "bicarbonate," "carbamide," "chlorhexidine," "fluoride" and "xylitol."

Results: Chewing gum is being used as a delivery vehicle for substances such as calcium, bicarbonate, carbamide, chlorhexidine, fluoride and xylitol to improve oral health and reduce caries. These substances exhibit properties that are protective of the oral environment and mediate common oral diseases. The debate for advocating xylitol use in caries prevention is advancing; however, chewing gum use by young schoolchildren in the United States is hindered by choking hazard concerns and lack of specific xylitol dosing recommendations.

Clinical implications: The use of chewing gum containing dental-protective substances, particularly xylitol, in caries-prevention programs can reduce the tooth decay epidemic. Chewing gum use by children in the school setting should be reconsidered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkalies / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Cariostatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Caseins / administration & dosage
  • Chewing Gum* / analysis
  • Child
  • Chlorhexidine / administration & dosage
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Dental Plaque / therapy*
  • Drug Carriers
  • Fluorides / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration / drug effects
  • Streptococcus mutans / drug effects
  • Sugar Alcohols / administration & dosage


  • Alkalies
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Caseins
  • Chewing Gum
  • Drug Carriers
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate nanocomplex
  • Fluorides
  • Chlorhexidine