Mutans Streptococci Dose Response to Xylitol Chewing Gum
Xylitol is promoted in caries-preventive strategies, yet its effective dose range is unclear. This study determined the dose-response of mutans streptococci in plaque and unstimulated saliva to xylitol gum. Participants (n = 132) were randomized: controls (G1) (sorbitol/maltitol), or combinations giving xylitol 3.44 g/day (G2), 6.88 g/day (G3), or 10.32 g/day (G4). Groups chewed 3 pellets/4 times/d. Samples were taken at baseline, 5 wks, and 6 mos, and were cultured on modified Mitis Salivarius agar for mutans streptococci and on blood agar for total culturable flora. At 5 wks, mutans streptococci levels in plaque were 10x lower than baseline in G3 and G4 (P = 0.007/0.003). There were no differences in saliva. At 6 mos, mutans streptococci in plaque for G3 and G4 remained 10x lower than baseline (P = 0.007/0.04). Saliva for G3 and G4 was lower than baseline by 8 to 9x (P = 0.011/0.038). Xylitol at 6.44 g/day and 10.32 g/day reduces mutans streptococci in plaque at 5 wks, and in plaque and unstimulated saliva at 6 mos. A plateau effect is suggested between 6.44 g and 10.32 g xylitol/day.