The first studies on the use of chewing gum in dentistry were done in the 1970s. The Turku Sugar Studies,
carried out between 1970 and 1973, showed the excellent anticaries properties of xylitol chewing gums. Since then, many
dentists, particularly in Scandinavian countries, have studied the role of chewing xylitol-sweetened chewing gums as
another preventive strategy in the control of dental caries. Objective: To compare variations in salivary flow rate, pH,
buffering capacity, and levels of Streptococcus mutans in baseline conditions and after chewing paraffin pellets or xylitol
chewing gum in children between the ages of 6 and 12 years who eat lunch in a school canteen. MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study sample consisted of 90 children divided into 2 study groups, and a control group. The children ate lunch at the
canteen of the Escultor Ortells state school in the town of Vila-real (Castelln, Spain). The baseline data recorded in
the first phase of the study were compared with the data recorded in the second phase, after 15 minutes of chewing xylitol-
sweetened chewing gums or paraffin pellets, depending on the study group. Salivary flow rate was measured by collecting
the stimulated saliva in a graduated beaker. Levels of pH were measured using a Cyberscan pH 110 pH meter (Eutech
Instruments). CRT buffer strips and the CRT bacteria test (Ivoclar-Vivadent) were used to measure buffering capacity and
levels of S. mutans, respectively.
The data obtained after sample collection were compared by means of a 1-way
analysis of variance using the StatGraphics Plus statistical software package, version 5.0. Statistically significant differences
were found (p <.05) when pH, buffering capacity and levels of S. mutans were compared between the 3 groups. Comparison of salivary flow rates revealed no statistically significant differences (p >.05), though salivary flow rates were higher in the
groups where gum was chewed.
The effect of chewing is essential to the stimulation of salivary flow and the
resulting recovery of pH levels and reduction of levels of S. mutans in saliva.
Vol.11 – n.1/2010
Harvard: M. Ribelles Llop, F. Guinot Jimeno, R. Mayn Acin, L. J. Bellet Dalmau (2010) "Effects of xylitol chewing gum on salivary flow rate, ph, buffering capacity and presence of Streptococcus mutans in saliva", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 11(1), pp9-14. doi:
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