Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of short-term xylitol gum chewing on the salivary microbiota of children.
Materials and methods: The study was a randomised, controlled, double-blind trial. Healthy children used xylitol chewing gum (xylitol group, n = 35) or sorbitol chewing gum (control group, n = 38) for 5 weeks. The daily dose of xylitol/sorbitol was approximately 6 g/day. At baseline and at the end of the test period, unstimulated and paraffin-stimulated saliva were collected. The microbial composition of the saliva was assessed using human oral microbe identification microarray (HOMIM). Mutans streptococci (MS) were plate cultured.
Results: As judged by HOMIM results, no xylitol-induced changes in the salivary microbiota took place in the xylitol group. In the control group, Veillonella atypica showed a significant decrease (p = 0.0001). The xylitol gum chewing decreased viable counts of MS in both stimulated (p = 0.006) and unstimulated (p = 0.002) saliva, but similar effects were also seen in the control group.
Conclusions: The use of xylitol gum decreased MS, in general, but did not change the salivary microbial composition.
Clinical relevance: Short-term consumption of xylitol had no impact on the composition of the salivary microbiota, but resulted in a decrease in the levels of MS.