Objective: To investigate the relationship between chewing sugar-free gum (SFG) and dental caries status in China.
Keywords: caries prevention, China, sugar-free gum
Methods: A total of 860 teenagers (aged 12 to 15 years) and 490 adults (aged ≥ 18 years) were recruited using a multistage stratified cluster method from economically developed areas (Beijing, Guangdong) and less economically developed areas (Hubei, Xinjiang). Each participant completed a questionnaire including oral health-related knowledge of SFG and chewing habits of SFG and agreed to undertake a clinical assessment. Potential factors associated with chewing conditions were analysed through a chi-square statistical test. A negative binominal regression analysis was performed to quantify the relationship between dental caries and consumption of SFG.
Results: The overall percentage of the survey population who consumed SFG was 43.4%, and SFG-related knowledge and awareness was only 19.4%. For decayed, missing and filled permanent teeth (DMFT), the mean value was 1.63 ± 2.41 and 2.29 ± 3.65 in the chewing group and non-chewing group, respectively. According to the negative binominal regression analysis, the caries status in the SFG chewing group was better than in the non-chewing group (adjusted prevalence rate ratio [PRR] 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62–0.87).
Conclusion: The chewing condition and oral health-related knowledge and awareness of SFG is low. Chewing SFG is related to a better dental caries status, so regular consumption of SFG should be recommended when promoting oral health.