American Dental Association gives gum the tick

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The American Dental Association has issued a report recommending sugar-free gum, lozenge and hard candy including xylitol or polyol combinations, as beneficial in preventing cavities when used as adjuncts to brushing your teeth. 

The executive summary of the report entitled, “Nonfluoride Caries Preventive Agents,” is published in the September issue of The Journal for the American Dental Association and is available on the Association’s Evidence Based Dentistry website. The clinical recommendations from the expert panel were reviewed and approved by the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs.

The panel noted in its report that nonfluoride options could provide an extra benefit to prevent cavities in patients at high risk for developing cavities when used in addition to products such as toothpaste, dental sealants and varnishes that contain fluoride as well as community water fluoridation and good eating habits.

In addition to a comprehensive cavity-prevention program which includes the use of fluoride, the scientific panel recommended that clinicians consider applying a mixture of cholrhexidine-thymol varnish to the teeth of high-risk adults and the elderly every three months to reduce cavities developing in the root of the tooth.

The panel encouraged clinicians to consider advising parents and caregivers of healthy children older than 5 years who are at higher risk for cavities to chew sugar-free polyol gum after meals for 10 to 20 minutes to prevent cavities.

The panel’s recommendations are based on a review of evidence from 71 published articles that described 50 randomised controlled trials and 15 non-randomised studies to assess the effectiveness of various nonfluoride agents in preventing cavities.

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