The caries preventive effect of 1-year use of low-dose xylitol chewing gum. A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial in high-caries-risk adults

Clin Oral Investig. 2017 Dec;21(9):2733-2740. doi: 10.1007/s00784-017-2075-5. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


Objectives: The caries preventive effect of long-term use (1 year) of low-dosage (2.5 g/die) of xylitol chewing gum in a high-caries-risk adult population was evaluated.

Materials and methods: In this randomized clinical trial, 179 high-caries-risk adults were assigned to two experimental groups, xylitol and polyols. Caries status, salivary mutans streptococci (MS), and plaque pH were re-evaluated after 2 years from baseline in 66 xylitol and 64 polyol subjects. Outcomes (the net caries increment for initial, moderate, and extensive caries lesions and for the caries experience) were evaluated using the nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test.

Results: The total caries experience increment was 1.25 ± 1.26 in the xylitol group and 1.80 ± 2.33 in the polyol group (p = 0.01). Subjects treated with xylitol chewing gums had a reduction of risk rate at tooth level of 23% with respect to those treated with polyols with a number needed to treat of 55 teeth. The area under the curve at pH 5.7 was statistically significantly lower (p = 0.02) during the experimental period in the xylitol group. A decrease of the concentration of salivary MS was noted in the xylitol group (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Subjects using the low-dose xylitol chewing gum showed a significantly lower increment of initial and extensive caries lesions and overall a lower increment of caries experience.

Clinical relevance: One-year use of chewing gums provides an effective means for the prevention of caries disease.

Trial registration number: NCT02310308.

Keywords: Chewing gums; Dental caries; Preventive medicine; RCT; Xylitol.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chewing Gum*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Sugar Alcohols / administration & dosage
  • Sugar Alcohols / therapeutic use
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Sweetening Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Xylitol / administration & dosage
  • Xylitol / therapeutic use*


  • Chewing Gum
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Xylitol

Associated data