The effect of chewing sugar-free gum after meals on clinical caries incidence

J Am Dent Assoc. 1998 Nov;129(11):1623-6. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.1998.0113.


To determine the effect of chewing sugar-free gum on caries incidence, the authors conducted a randomized clinical study. A total of 1,402 children in Puerto Rico, in grades 5 through 7 at baseline, completed the study. They were randomized by classroom into a control group or chewing gum group; those in the gum group were instructed to chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after each of three meals a day. Clinical and radiographic evaluations were performed at baseline and after two and three years. The results show that all subjects and high-risk subjects, respectively, in the gum group developed 7.9 percent and 11.0 percent fewer decayed, missing or filled surfaces than subjects in the control group. Based on these findings, the authors concluded that chewing sorbitol-based sugar-free gum after eating significantly reduces the incidence of dental caries.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aspartame / therapeutic use
  • Cariostatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chewing Gum*
  • Child
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / diagnostic imaging
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mannitol / therapeutic use
  • Puerto Rico
  • Radiography
  • Risk Factors
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sorbitol / therapeutic use
  • Sweetening Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Chewing Gum
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Aspartame