Purpose: To assess the oral debris removal efficacy of two commercial sugar-free chewing gums, based on a newly developed oral debris scoring system.
Methods: A randomized, examiner-blinded, three-arm crossover study was conducted, with a 1-week washout period between the crossover phases. 42 healthy adults were randomly assigned to sugar-free stick gum (Wrigley's Extra Freshmint), sugar-free pellet gum (Wrigley's Extra Fruit) or no-gum chewing groups. Subjects consumed a single chocolate cookie, and were examined at baseline, and at 2-, 5-, and 10-minute time points with or without gum-chewing treatment. Primary outcome measures were oral debris scores on the occlusal surface, interproximal and gingival margin areas. The entire test procedure was repeated on two subsequent visits.
Results: The baseline conditions in the three groups did not differ significantly. Chewing either stick gum or pellet gum resulted in significantly lower oral debris scores (P < 0.0001) compared to the control (no-gum) treatment for all intraoral sites, while no significant difference was observed between the two chewing gum groups. Intra-examiner repeatability of the new scoring criteria was high throughout the study (Kappa > 0.90).