, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 425-429
Date: 16 Jun 2007

Effect of chewing gums containing xylitol or probiotic bacteria on salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli

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The aim was to evaluate the effect of xylitol and probiotic chewing gums on salivary mutans streptococci (MS) and lactobacilli (LB). The material consisted of 80 healthy young adults (21–24 years) who volunteered after informed consent. They were assigned by random into one of four parallel study groups: A, probiotic gum group; B, xylitol gum group; C, probiotic + xylitol gum group; and D, placebo gum group. The gums were taken three times daily after meals, and the intervention period was 3 weeks. The probiotic gums contained two strains of Lactobacilli reuteri (ATCC 55730 at a dose of 1 × 108 CFU/gum and ATCC PTA 5289 at a dose of 1 × 108 CFU/gum), and each pellet of the xylitol gum contained ≈1.0 g xylitol as single sweetener. Pretreatment and posttreatment samples of stimulated whole saliva were collected and quantified for MS and LB with chair-side kits. A statistically significant reduction (p < 0.05) of salivary MS was displayed in group A and B after the intervention when compared with baseline. A similar but nonsignificant tendency was seen in group C. No alterations of salivary LB was demonstrated in any group. In conclusion, daily chewing on gums containing probiotic bacteria or xylitol reduced the levels of salivary MS in a significant way. However, a combination of probiotic and xylitol gums did not seem to enhance this effect.