2015 Volume 235 Issue 1 Pages 39-46
Chewing xylitol gum provides oral health benefits including inhibiting Streptococcus mutans plaque. It is thought to be especially effective in conditions where it is difficult to perform daily oral cleaning. Our study aim was to determine the effects of chewing xylitol gum on self-rated and objective oral health status under a condition interfering with oral hygiene maintenance. A randomized controlled intervention trial was conducted on 55 healthy ≥ 20-year-old men recruited from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force who were undergoing field training. Participants were randomly assigned to a test group (chewing gum; n = 27) or a control group (no gum; n = 28) and the researchers were blinded to the group assignments. The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores of oral conditions subjectively evaluated oral health, and the stimulated salivary bacteria quantity objectively evaluated oral health 1 day before field training (baseline) and 4 days after the beginning of field training (follow-up). VAS scores of all three oral conditions significantly increased in the control group (malodor: p < 0.001; discomfort: p < 0.001; dryness: p < 0.001), but only two VAS scores increased in the test group (malodor: p = 0.021; discomfort: p = 0.002). The number of salivary total bacteria significantly increased in the control group (p < 0.01), while no significant change was observed in the test group (p = 0.668). Chewing xylitol gum positively affects self-rated and objective oral health status by controlling oral hygiene under conditions that interfere with oral hygiene maintenance.