This was a prospective, randomised placebo-controlled study aiming to evaluate the effect of xylitol and probiotics on salivary bacilli. 80 healthy young adults aged 21-24 years were included and divided into 4 groups (4×20).
The study products were: One probiotic chewing gum containing Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis (ATCC 55730 and ATCC PTA 5289, 1×10^8 CFU of each strain) three times daily (Group A); 2 pieces of xylitol chewing gum three times daily (Group B); 2 xylitol gums in the morning + 2 probiotic chewing gums mid-day +2 xylitol chewing gums in the evening (Group C); and 3 placebo chewing gums per day. Dosing continued for three weeks and salivary samples for Streptococcus mutans and lactobacilli assessment were collected on day 0 before treatment start and again after three weeks.
There were no differences between the groups before and after treatment regarding lactobacilli load. For Groups C and D there were no changes in strep mutans score before and after treatment. However, the strep mutans score was significantly improved in both Group A and B.
Fig. 1 Transition of salivary mutans streptococci scores when posttreatment levels were compared with the baseline in the different experimental groups. Decreased scores=1–3 steps under baseline; unchanged score = same as baseline; increased score = 1 step over baseline. The distribution in group D (control) was significantly different (p<0.05) from the distributions in groups A–C
Conclusion: The results suggest that a three-week consumption of either 3 Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis chewing gums or 6 xylitol chewing gums can reduce the load of mutans streptococci.