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Xylitol: Effects on the Acquisition of Cariogenic Species in Infants

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of xylitol gum (XG) on the acquisition pattern of 39 bacterial species, including mutans streptococci (MS), in infants. Methods: Ninety-seven mothers (MS counts >105 CFU/ml) were randomly divided into 4 groups and received: 1) XG (4.2 gm/day); 2) XG (6 months after baseline exams); 3) sorbitol gum (4.2 gm/day); or 4) no gum. Groups 1 and 3 chewed gum 3 times a day for 9 months. Microbiota of plaque and saliva samples from the mother-child pairs were analyzed by culturing and via checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization. Results: MS was isolated from 33% of the predentate infant (≤5 months old) baseline saliva samples and from 41% of the saliva and 65% of the plaque samples at the final visit. At baseline, positive responses to “mother's checking of baby's food temperature using baby's spoon” and “starting a bottle after stopping breast-feeding” were significant predictors (P=.009 and P<.001, respectively) of infant's total streptococci counts. At the final visit (9 months later), there were no significant differences between treatment groups for infants' 39 microbial plaque species, including MS. Conclusions: Maternal use of xylitol gum did not result in statistically significant differences in the microbial plaque composition of 9- to 14-month-old infants.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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