Effects of sugar-free polyol chewing gums on gingival inflammation: a systematic review

Clin Oral Investig. 2022 Dec;26(12):6881-6891. doi: 10.1007/s00784-022-04729-x. Epub 2022 Oct 14.


Objectives: A systematic review of published data was conducted with the aim of assessing the effects of sugar-free polyol chewing gums on gingival inflammation.

Materials and methods: Electronic and hand searches were performed to find clinical studies concerning the effects of sugar-free chewing gums on gingival scores. Prospective randomized controlled clinical trials published between 1971 and 2021 were included in the review.

Results: The initial search identified 46 erythritol, 102 xylitol, 23 sorbitol, and nine maltitol chewing gum articles. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, seven xylitol chewing gum studies, one sorbitol, and one maltitol chewing gum study with either high or fair quality were reviewed. In five out of the seven xylitol studies, xylitol gum decreased gingival scores. In two studies, xylitol decreased gingival scores compared to a polyol gum, and in three studies compared to no gum/gum base. As for sorbitol and maltitol, only sorbitol gum chewing showed a small decrease in gingival scores compared to the controls.

Conclusions: Habitual xylitol gum chewing may reduce gingival inflammation. The low number of studies and their heterogeneity provide clear indications that the effects of sugar-free polyol chewing gums on gingival inflammation need further, well-controlled studies.

Clinical relevance: Sugar-free chewing gums, especially xylitol gum, may function as adjuncts to toothbrushing for reducing gingival inflammation, but the evidence so far is inconclusive.

Keywords: Chewing gum; Gingival inflammation; Maltitol; Sorbitol; Xylitol.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chewing Gum
  • Dental Plaque* / drug therapy
  • Gingivitis* / drug therapy
  • Gingivitis* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sorbitol / therapeutic use
  • Xylitol / pharmacology
  • Xylitol / therapeutic use


  • Chewing Gum
  • maltitol
  • Xylitol
  • polyol
  • Sorbitol