The Latest From WOHP
New research highlights the oral health benefits of low and no calorie sweeteners
8 June 2023
A review article published in The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice by Shankargouda and colleagues has reviewed evidence relating to the oral health benefits of sweeteners, finding that – although cautious intake is recommended – sweeteners can “benefit several health conditions” and that dental caries “are indicated to decline in individuals” consuming these ingredients. The authors conclude that the body of available research in this area shows that “sweeteners act as a majority help to maintain good oral health”.
Sweeteners are used in sugar-free gum to provide a good taste and oral health benefits. Unlike sugar, they do not promote tooth decay because they cannot be broken down by oral bacteria in the mouth. Furthermore, chewing sugar-free chewing gum stimulates saliva which helps to maintain healthy teeth by clearing the mouth of food debris and sugar(s), neutralizing harmful plaque acids, and supporting remineralization of tooth enamel. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) notes that “there is sufficient scientific information to support the claims that intense sweeteners, as all sugar replacers, maintain tooth mineralization by decreasing tooth demineralization if consumed instead of sugars”.
 EFSA, Scientific opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to intense sweeteners. EFSA Journal 2011;9(6):2229. Available online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2229/epdf
WOHP celebrates World Oral Health Day by encouraging people to look after their teeth for the special moments in life that make you smile
20 March 2023
To celebrate this year’s World Oral Health Day – a key opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health – the WOHP launched a campaign to celebrate moments of everyday happiness. Special moments don’t have to be major milestones – often the most powerful moments are the everyday. It could be spending quality time with your family, celebrating a birthday or going to watch a movie. Smiles are how we express ourselves – that’s why having good teeth is so important to overall happiness and wellbeing.
Sadly, however, more than 3.5 billion people are affected by some kind of oral health problem. Having poor oral health can impact on your confidence and self-esteem, leading to reduced socialising or isolation. Through a series of online education materials, we sought to remind people of the importance of these moments, how they evoke happy memories and lead us to smile and show our teeth. This presented a great opportunity to promote the oral health benefits of chewing sugar-free gum, highlighting the role gum can play as part of a daily oral hygiene routine, especially when snacking on-the-go.
To learn more about World Oral Health Day, please click here.
 Chewing sugar-free gum helps prevent tooth decay by increasing the production of saliva – the body’s natural defense system for mouth and teeth.
Research by King’s College London shows that chewing sugar-free gum significantly reduces plaque quantity in the oral cavity
12 April 2022
Scientists at King’s College London (KCL) have published a new systematic review and meta-analysis into the oral care benefits of chewing sugar-free gum. The latest study marks the third in a series of research papers published by KCL into sugar-free gum.
This study found that chewing sugar-free gum significantly reduced plaque quantity in the oral cavity. When looking more specifically at xylitol gum, the review also found that it significantly reduced plaque quantity. The study concluded that this new research provides evidence to support the use of sugar-free gum – and more particularly xylitol sugar-free gum – in reducing plaque quantity in adults.
The first paper in this series by KCL, published in 2019, showed that the use of sugar-free gum may contribute to prevention and control of dental caries in children with a preventative fraction of 28%. In 2021, the scientists published a second paper based on the data, which found that chewing sugar-free gum reduces the load of Streptococcus mutans (a contributor to tooth decay, mostly found on the surfaces of teeth) in the oral cavity. This latest study provides further evidence supporting the use of sugar-free gum as part of a complete oral hygiene routine, in addition to brushing twice daily, consuming a healthy and balanced diet, and regular dental check-ups.
To read the study in full, please click here. This research was made possible with support from the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program.
Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program calls on parents to be oral health role models this World Oral Health Day
20 March 2022
Since we helped FDI World Dental Federation launch the first World Oral Health Day in 2013, the WOHP has celebrated this key opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health and its significance in safeguarding general health and wellbeing. This year, FDI’s theme was ‘Be Proud of your Mouth for your happiness and wellbeing’, with oral health champions around the world taking part to emphasize that an unhealthy mouth can severely impact every aspect of life such as emotional, social, mental, and overall physical wellbeing.
Our campaign in 2022 focused on how we can reverse declining oral health habits. Research shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, toothbrushing twice-a-day decreased among both parents and children, with the drop particularly noticeable in children. One in four children failed to brush twice a day[i] and fewer children had a dental exam in 2020 compared to 2019[ii]. With tooth decay currently affecting 60-90% of schoolchildren[iii], this year’s campaign encouraged parents to be oral care role models to their kids and suggested ways to make brushing more fun! Ideas included making brushing part of a family routine, turning brushing into a game, and rewarding good brushing with a piece of sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum helps prevent tooth decay by increasing the production of saliva – the body’s natural defense system for mouth and teeth. The benefits of chewing are recognized by regulatory bodies, governments, and dental associations around the world.
To learn more about World Oral Health Day, please click here.
[i] Unilever Oral care brands’ Global Research Summary Report 2021: Attitudes, Behaviours and Experiences of Oral Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic was conducted in November-December 2020 with 6,734 parents in 8 countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ghana, and Vietnam.
[ii] Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. National Health Interview Survey 2020-21. US population.
[iii] World Health Organization.
Research by King’s College London shows that chewing sugar-free gum reduces the load of Streptococcus mutans in the oral cavity
29 April 2021
Scientists from King’s College London have conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials with adults and children. The review found that chewing sugar-free gum reduces the load of Streptococci mutans in the oral cavity.
Preventive strategies targeting Streptococcus mutans may be effective in reducing the global burden of caries. The aim of the systematic review was to determine the difference in level of Streptococcus mutans in adults and children who chew sugar-free gum, compared with those who did not chew gum, who chewed a control gum or received alternatives such as probiotics or fluoride varnish.
Thirteen studies of sugar-free gum with micro-organisms as outcomes were identified. The use of sugar-free gum significantly reduced the load of Streptococcus mutans compared to all controls. In seven of the 13 studies the confidence intervals of the effect size estimate included zero, suggesting no effect of the intervention. Twelve trials used xylitol gum only as the basis of the intervention; xylitol gum significantly reduced the load of Streptococcus mutans in comparison to all controls.
The study concluded that chewing sugar-free gum reduces the load of Streptococcus mutans in the oral cavity in comparison to non-chewing controls. Considering the degree of variability in the effect and the moderate quality of the trials included, there is a need for future research exploring the use sugar-free gum as a preventive measure for reducing the cariogenic oral bacterial load.
This research was made possible with support from the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program.
WOHP Clinical Booklet
A clinical overview of the role of chewing sugar-free gum in oral healthcare.
The latest research on sugar-free gum
Two recent systematic reviews published by King’s College have concluded that the regular use of polyol combination chewing gum leads to a reduction in dental caries and is an effective addition to oral health regimens.