Tooth decay is transmitted from adults to children

14. October 2009  
Filed in News

It is probably very few new mothers, who know bakteriesammensætningen in their own saliva and probably even fewer that know this have an impact on their child's dental health the rest of his life. Kisses and hugs are fine, but contact and exchange of saliva can transfer the ”cariesbakterier” from mother to child. Parents should be better informed, reads the assessment from the Professor of Dentistry in Copenhagen Svante Twetman.

Mothers pass bacteria to their children
People who have much caries, and often have a special bakteriesammensætning. And these ”cariesbakterier” can infection. Studies show that the bacteria in infants in more than 70 percent of the cases comes from the mother, however the infection can also take place from other relatives or, for instance, in vuggestuemiljøet.

Mom with many ”cariesbakterier” are at high risk to transfer these to their children by, for example, to share the fate of their children or the taste of the baby feeding bottle. The earlier a child is exposed to the cariesbakterier, the greater the risk is that the bacteria establish a permanent and on a large scale. Thus, there is increased risk that the child develops caries in pre-school, writing Tandlægebladet.

According to professor Svante Twetman is it first and foremost to avoid direct spytkontakt. You should as parents avoid to take the child's pacifier or other things that need to check in the child's mouth, into his own mouth. One should not, for example, test barnemadens temperature in his own mouth. And one should not wash the pacifier or ”do it clean” by taking it in the mouth.

Another precaution, which the mother can take is to try to reduce its own level of cariesbakterier. With a background in several independent studies highlights Svante Twetman, ”mother can treat themselves antibacterial by rinsing the mouth with klorhexidinopløsning, or she may choose to chew xylitoltyggegummi in the period up to the child's first tandfrembrud.”

He stresses that there is some evidence that the tandsundheden in children can be improved if the tandplejepersonalet provides prospective and new parents information and advice on how to avoid the transfer of cariesbakterier to her child.

Read more in Tandlægebladet no. 12 2009 or on

Professor advises against the recommendation of sugarless gum

14. may 2009  
Filed in News

The EU experts have recognized chewing gum with xylitol as a preventive against dental caries. But now, warns a professor of dentistry in Copenhagen against overfortolke the message that sugar-free gum with xylitol reduces risk of tooth decay in children.

A group of experts from the The European Food Safety Authority has determined that the xylitoltyggegummi reduces the risk of cariesudvikling in children. And thus, there should be scientific evidence to say that sugar-free chewing gum containing polyols (xylitol and sorbitol), decreases the risk of having gaps in the teeth.

But now warns professor Svante Twetman from the Dentistry in Copenhagen, as Tandlægebladet have asked, against an over-interpretation of the message that sugar-free gum with xylitol reduces risk of tooth decay in children, and the professor does not think that we should recommend to the Danish children to chew gum to avoid cavities in the teeth.

Industrial interests and insufficient documentation
Svante Twetman points out that the EU experts ' conclusion is based on the reports, which in many cases is initiated on the basis of industrial interests. And that the studies that underlie this conclusion are of highly varying quality, scientifically speaking. Bl.a. is previous work and field studies from Latin america included, and it is the study, which, according to Twetman lacks validity for Danish conditions.

Professor Svante Twetman believe, therefore, that the documentation for xylitols preventive effect in relation to the holes in the teeth is insufficient. And he misses in addition, a health economic evaluation of chewing gum against the holes. A careful calculation shows that the prevention of just a single hole will require 4.000 – 5.000 pieces of chewing gum. And since the risk of cavities in the teeth in Danish children is already very low, there is not a need to mitigate this risk with xylitoltilskud.

No recommendations with lack of knowledge
Svante Twetman will not, however, exclude the possibility that sugar-free chewing gum with xylitol and sorbitol can have a beneficial effect on tandsundheden. It stimulates the spytudviklingen, and it can not be excluded that xylitol and sorbitol can affect the oral environment in a positive direction.

Svante Twetman suggest it as a possible complement to the treatment, one usually uses in order to stop the development of a hole in a tooth in children and young people with a high risk of tooth decay, for example fluorbehandling and varnishing. But he emphasizes at the same time, that as long as there are gaps in our knowledge of e.g. optimal dosage, there may not be a general recommendation of chewing gum with xylitol and sorbitol.

The entire article can be read in Tandlægebladet no. 6 2009 or on