Chandrashekar Janakiram, CV Deepan Kumar, Joe Joseph
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Amrita School of Dentistry, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi, Kerala, India.
DOI: 10.4103/0976-9668.198344


Xylitol is a sugar alcohol having the properties that reduce levels of mutans streptococci (MS) in the plaque and saliva. To assess the role of xylitol in preventing dental caries. Systematic review and meta-analysis developed by Cochrane cooperation were adapted. Electronic search was carried out in PubMed through the period up to 2014. Included clinical studies were done on (1) humans (2) participants include both individuals and as pairs (mother-child) (3) participants using orthodontic appliances (4) xylitol dispensed in any form (5) compare the effect of xylitol on dental caries and on other phenotype that determines the preventive effect on dental caries, such as decayed, missing, and filled (DMF/dmf) and salivary or plaque MS level. Twenty articles of the 477 articles initially identified. Among 20 studies indexed, 16 articles were accessed, systematically reviewed, and the meta-analysis was carried out. The evaluation of quality of the studies was done using risk of bias assessment tool. The quality of the studies was high risk and unclear risk for six and five trials. The meta-analysis shows a reduction in DMF/dmf with the standard mean (SM) of −1.09 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], −1.34, −0.83) comparing xylitol to all controls. The effect of DMF/dmf reduction by xylitol to fluoride varnish was with the SM of −1.87 (95% CI, −2.89, −0.84). The subgroup analysis, there was a reduction in MS count with SM of 0.30 (95% CI, 0.05, 0.56) when compared with all other caries preventive strategies; however, it was insignificant. Xylitol was found to be an effective strategy as self-applied caries preventive agent.

Keywords: Caries prevention, mutants streptococci, natural sweetener, noncariogenic, over the counter sweetener, sugar substitute.

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