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Which active ingredients in sugar-free gum are best for oral health?

By Oliver Nieburg+

04-Jul-2013

A systemic review has detailed the antimicrobial agents and herbal extracts it deems to have the greatest positive effect on plaque indices.

Antimicrobial agent chlorhexidine (CHX) was heralded as the stand out ingredient.

The review published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene screened 594 clinical trials and analyzed 14 papers that met its eligibility criteria. The ingredients assessed were: CHX, zinc gluconate, mastic, pycnogenol, funoran, eucalyptus, acacia, hydrogen peroxide, magnolia bark extract and urea.

CHX most compelling

“Most of the chewing gums with antimicrobial agents or herbal extracts were shown to have a positive effect with respect to plaque and gingivitis scores,” said the review.

“The most compelling evidence was provided for chewing gum containing chlorhexidine.”

CHX is an antiseptic antibacterial agent. It was one of the first antimicrobial agents believed to inhibit dental plaque and gingivitis.

The researchers had enough data on chlorhexidine to perform a meta-analysis.

“The meta-analysis and the votecounting results of the individual studies indicate a beneficial effect on plaque inhibition.

“However, the GRADE evidence profile shows that the recommendation to use CHX-containing chewing gum to reduce the presence of plaque in the absence of brushing is considered to be ‘weak’.”

Other ingredients

The researchers added that eucalyptus, acacia, funoran, pycnogenol and mastic all had positive impacts on plaque scores. Urea and zinc gluconate were found to have no real effect.

Only CHX, magnolia and eucalyptus showed a positive effect on gingivitis scores, but there was limited data available for other ingredients.

The review was performed in the commission of ACTA Dental Research, which receives financial report from Wrigley. But the study authors said Wrigley had no say in the study design or outcomes.

Source:
Int J Dent Hygiene
DOI: 10.1111/idh.12026
‘The effect of medicated, sugar-free chewing gum on plaque and clinical parameters of gingival inflammation: a systematic review.’
Authors: Keukenmeester RS, Slot DE, Putt MS, Van der Weijden GA.

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