Xylitol: Effects on the acquisition of cariogenic species in infants

Margherita Fontana, Diana Catt, George J. Eckert, Susan Ofner, Milagros Toro, Richard L. Gregory, Andrea Ferreira Zandona, Hafsteinn Eggertsson, Richard Jackson, Judith Chin, Domenick Zero, Christopher H. Sissons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


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 > 10 5 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric dentistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 27 2009


  • Plaque
  • S mutans
  • Saliva
  • Transmission
  • Xylitol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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