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Sweet defeat for dental caries.

Sweet defeat for dental caries

Controversy continues over the relative dental risks and benefits of various sweeteners in gum. But a growing body of evidence suggests that xylitol, a nonfermentable sugar alcohol popular in some European gums but not common in the United States, has a definite protective effect on teeth -- perhaps by killing harmful bacteria and stimulating remineralization on tooth surfaces. A study in the August JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION, conducted by Kauko Makinen of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in Ann Arbor and his colleagues, shows that kids who chewed xylitol-sweetened gum three times a day for two years developed significantly fewer cavities than did classmates who chewed non-xylithol gum. And new research reported by Makinen last week suggests xylitol's protective effects continue two years after the kids stop chewing it.
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Title Annotation:gum flavored with xylitol
Author:Weiss, Rick
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 22, 1988
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