Ten adults participated in the study which consisted of four experimental periods each lasting 2 weeks, during each of which subjects were assigned to one of four gum-chewing regimens: no gum, sucrose gum, sorbitol gum and xylitol gum. At the start and end of each test period unstimulated and stimulated salivary flow rates were determined. At the end of each test period the acidogenic potential of 48-hour dental plaque was measured using a Beetrode pH microelectrode. No statistically significant (p < 0.05) effect on salivary flow rate was observed. The xylitol chewing gum regimen resulted in significantly higher plaque pH than no gum, sucrose gum and sorbitol gum at 2, 10, 20, 30 and 60 min following a 10% sucrose rinse. In addition, xylitol gum regimen exhibited a significantly higher minimum pH and smaller area of the curve below pH 6. The results suggest that the regular use of xylitol-sweetened gum may serve to reduce the acidogenic potential of dental plaque.
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