children whose mothers regularly consumed xylitol chewing gum for a two-year period following the birth of the child exhibited significantly reduced S. mutans colonization at the age of two years.
Albany, OR (PRWEB) January 18, 2009
Exciting new research shows that the management of the dental caries infection that causes cavities in expecting mothers results in a significant decrease in the risk of decay for their children. It has long been known that the primary root of transmission for the communicable dental caries infection is one of a vertical nature. This means the infection is transferred down from generations, most commonly from the mother or primary caregiver, to the child. In fact, one of the primary bacteria known to initiate the dental caries infection, Mutans Streptococci, has been identified in an infant's mouth as young as 3 months old. For most children, this is before their first tooth has ever erupted. Given their mouths already house these decay-causing, highly acidic bacteria when that first vulnerable little tooth erupts, one can understand why this disease continues to wreak havoc in our pediatric populations.
However, emerging research on a promising sugar-substitute, xylitol, could hold some of the answers. While the term "sugar substitute" has been used, over-used, and even controversialized, xylitol is in a league of its own. This sugar substitute is not only natural, found in such sources as birch trees, fruits and vegetables, but is even produced in the human body during normal metabolism. This sugar, while regularly consumed by the bacteria in plaque, is not fermented and therefore will not result in the production of the acid which normally occurs after meals or snacks. It is this usual acid production from bacteria that causes enamel breakdown and eventually leads to cavities. Over the last 30 years of study on xylitol, its dental benefits have been corroborated on every occasion.
One particularly interesting study, commonly referred to as the "Mother and Child" study, showed that (Soderline et al., 2000), "children whose mothers regularly consumed xylitol chewing gum for a two-year period following the birth of the child exhibited significantly reduced S. mutans colonization at the age of two years." At the age of five years these kids still had significantly lower dental caries (71-74% lower decayed, missing, or filled teeth) than even those children whose mothers used fluoride or an antimicrobial agent, Chlorhexidine. One of the most remarkable findings in the study pertains to the fact that this impressive reduction in caries was achieved solely through the treatment of the mothers, as the children received no treatment during this period.
One Oregon company, Oral BioTech, is embracing this new research on xylitol with a xylitol-rich line of products for both adults and children. Part of the motivation for these products has been the relative lack of effectiveness of our previous generations' use of available homecare products. Regardless of what antimicrobial or fluoride products have been available for the last 20 years, the CDC Trends in Oral Health Status in the United States reports an increase in early childhood caries in kids ages 2-5 years old of 24% between 1988 and 1994 and an additional 28% increase between 1999 and 2004.
Visit http://www.carifree.com to learn more about xylitol and its benefits in the CariFree and Xyli-Tots products. Mothers can purchase these products today and begin ensuring a better dental future for themselves as well as what may be at this point, just a twinkle in their eyes.