Attention pediatric dentists: Looking for ways to get kids interested in oral health? Just recommend gummy bears!
The decay-fighting sugar substitute xylitol has now been incorporated into gummy bear candies. And a new study has found that giving children four of the xylitol bears three times a day during school hours decreases the plaque bacteria that cause tooth decay (BMC Oral Health, July 25, 2008).
Xylitol is already a popular sweetener for chewing gum. But gum is not suitable for younger children, the study authors noted.
"For xylitol to be successfully used in oral health promotion programs amongst primary-school children, an effective means of delivering xylitol must be identified," lead author Kiet Ly stated in a press release. "Gummy bears would seem to be more ideal than chewing gum."
The gummy bears are not yet available commercially, and the study authors urge that additional clinical trials should be performed.