Panel Makes Recommendations on Various Issues



Sugar-free chewing gum, lozenges and hard candy containing xylitol could help to prevent cavities.

This information comes from a recent expert panel put together by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. These substances can be beneficial if used as part of a cavity prevention program. Also included in that program is the use of fluoride-containing products.

Research shows that sugar-free chewing gum, lozenges and hard candy could lower the cavity risk for people at high risk for developing cavities. But it’s still essential for these people to have their teeth exposed to some fluoride.

The full report is available on the Web site for the ADA’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry.

The panel encourages clinicians to advise parents of children over 5 and at high risk for cavities to provide the children with sugar-free polyol gum. The children should be given the gum about 10 to 20 minutes after a meal. Polyol is a low-calorie sweetener like xylitol that is not broken down by bacteria, meaning it doesn’t result in tooth decay. The children may also benefit from sucking on hard candy that contains xylitol.

The panel used many published articles and trials to generate their information.