Xylitol in toothpaste may prevent tooth decay, but there is no evidence that xylitol in sweets and chewing gum has an effect


Tooth decay is a common disease affecting up to 90% of children and most adults worldwide. It impacts on quality of life and can be the reason for thousands of children needing dental treatment under general anaesthetic in hospital. However, it can easily be prevented and treated by good oral health habits such as brushing teeth regularly with toothpaste that contains fluoride and cutting down on sugary food and drinks. If left undisturbed, the unhelpful bacteria in the mouth – which cause decay – multiply and stick to the surfaces of teeth producing a sticky film. Then, when sugar is eaten or drank, the bad bacteria in the film are able to make acid resulting in tooth decay. Xylitol is a natural sweetener, which is equally as sweet as normal sugar (sucrose). As well as providing an alternative to sugar, it has other properties that are thought to help prevent tooth decay, such as increasing the production of saliva and reducing the growth of bad bacteria in the mouth so that less acid is produced. In humans, xylitol is known to cause possible side effects such as bloating, wind and diarrhoea. Continue reading

Latest publications from the Cochrane Oral Health Group


c. Hakan Svensson (Xauxa)

A new review, an updated review and a new protocol from the Cochrane Oral Health Group were published in the Cochrane Library in September.

Follow the links for more!

Interventions for managing relapse of the lower front teeth after orthodontic treatment
By Yongchun Yu, Jie Sun, Wenli Lai, Taixiang Wu, Stephen Koshy, Zongdao Shi

This review considers the effectiveness of fixed braces or removable retainers for managing relapse of lower front teeth after orthodontic treatment. Maintaining lower front teeth in the corrected position after orthodontic treatment is an important problem. However, this review found that there were no clinical trials which considered this question and that there was no evidence to support using one form of treatment for managing relapse over another.

Interventions for replacing missing teeth: dental implants in zygomatic bone for the rehabilitation of the severely deficient edentulous maxilla
By Marco Esposito and Helen Worthington

An updated search was conducted for this review, which considers the beneficial and harmful effects of long tooth implants passing through the sinus and into the cheekbone, as an alternative to procedures designed to build up missing bone in the jaw (such as bone grafting). No trials were found that compare zygomatic implants with conventional bone grafting.

Xylitol-containing products for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents
By Mohammad O Sharif, Farooq Ahmed, Helen V Worthington

Dental caries affects 60-90% of children as well as the majority of adults. This is a protocol for a new review which will examine whether xylitol – a sugar substitute – can help to prevent tooth decay. In this review we are specifically interested in xylitol-containing gels, toothpastes, varnishes, mouthrinses, chewing gums and sprays.

There is also a new editorial:

Other new and highlighted reviews:

New edition of the Cochrane Library is out today!

A new edition of the Cochrane Library has been published, and features one new review and 5 new protocols from the Oral Health Group, a bumper month!

New review: AntibioticsImage to prevent complications following tooth extraction
Giovanni Lodi, Lara Figini, Andrea Sardella, Antonio Carrassi, Massimo Del Fabbro, Susan Furness

This review looks at whether antibiotics, given to dental patients as part of their treatment, prevent infection after tooth extraction. There were 18 studies considered, with a total of 2456 participants who received either antibiotics (of different kinds and dosages) or placebo, immediately before and/or just after tooth extraction. Do they do more harm than good? Follow the link to read more!

New Protocol: Clinical assessment to screen for the detection of oral cavity cancer and potentially malignant disorders in apparently healthy adults
Tanya Walsh, Joseph LY Liu, Paul Brocklehurst, Mark Lingen, Alexander R Kerr, Graham Ogden, Saman ImageWarnakulasuriya, Crispian Scully

This is a protocol for the Oral Health Group’s first review of diagnostic test accuracy, a new area of research for the Group. The objective of this review is to estimate the accuracy of the conventional oral examination (COE) used singly or in combination with another index test as a screening test for the detection of oral cancer and potentially malignant disorders (PMD) of the lip and oral cavity of apparently healthy adults.

New Protocol: Interventions for replacing missing teeth: alveolar ridge preservation techniques for oral implant site development
Momen A Atieh, Nabeel HM Alsabeeha, Alan GT Payne, Warwick Duncan, Marco Esposito

A protocol for a new review. The aim is to assess the clinical effects of various materials and techniques for alveolar ridge preservation (ARP) after tooth extraction compared with extraction alone and/or other methods of ARP for patients requiring oral implant placement following healing of extraction socket.

ImageNew Protocol:Lasers for caries removal in deciduous and permanent teeth
Alessandro Montedori, Iosief Abraha, Massimiliano Orso, Potito Giuseppe D’Errico, Stefano Pagano, Guido Lombardo

This protocol is for a new review which will compare the effects of laser-based methods to conventional mechanical methods for the removal of dental caries in deciduous and permanent teeth.

New Protocol: Maternal consumption of xylitol for preventing dental decay in children
Derek Richards, Brett Duane, Andrea Sherriff

Protocol for a new review. The aim is to evaluate the effects of xylitol (consumed by mothers) at reducing tooth decay in their children compared with alternative treatments (e.g. chlorhexidine, fluoride varnish, placebo, or no treatment).

New Protocol: Orthodontic treatment for bimaxillary proclination in children and adults
Padhraig S Fleming, Nikolaos Pandis, Zbys Fedorowicz, Reshma A Carlo, Jadbinder Seehra

This new protocol is for a Cochrane review which will assess the effects of different types of orthodontic treatment for bimaxillary proclination particularly their impact on occlusal results, facial outcomes and patient experiences.

Other highlights of the Cochrane Library, Issue 11, 2012:

There is also an editorial on Measuring the Performance of the Cochrane Library.