The Summary of Debi Gerger’s Article
The article of Debi Gerger (2008), RDH, MPH, entitled ‘Xylitol several times a day… may help keep caries away! ’ states that xylitol which is commercially available as a noncariogenic sugar substitute has the potential to reduce caries rates by preventing Mutans Streptococci growth. Gerger also mentions that to perform a caries risk assessment, pathological, risk factors and protective factors of caries must be first determined. After determining such factors, the next procedure would be determining the patient’s caries risk level.
There are two approaches to determine risk levels including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Carries-Risk Assessment Tool (CAT) and the Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA). According to Gerger’s article, managing dental carries include at-home and in-office recommendations. The at-home recommendations include daily oral hygiene with fluoride-containing toothpaste, mouth rinsing, drinking water, antibacterials and Xylitol-containing products.
The in-office recommendations include dental procedures done by dental hygienists and dentist. In addition, Gerger’s article also mentioned that 25% of American children aged 2 to 5, and half of 12% of the ages 12 to 15 have tooth decay. He also mentions that tooth decay is highly infectious at any age bracket. Gerger states that Caries management with the use of xylitol decreases the amount of MS and raises the salivary pH level because MS is unable to metabolize xylitol and xylitol inhibits the attachment of MS to teeth.
It is also said that xylitol is effective in preventing the transmission of the Mutans Streptococci frome parent to child (2008). Xylitol has been used since the early 1960s through infusion therapy and diabetic foods. It is a five-carbon sugar alcohol derived from forest and agricultural materials. Finnish researches are the first one to recognize its dental health benefits. Xylitol is commercially available in many forms which have different xylitol doses.
For this reason, the patient is advised to check the xylitol content of a product to determine the needed dose to be taken (Gerger, 2008). Gerger argues that xylitol is a major addition to the treatment of caries. She proposes that considering the caries balance concept is vital to determine the appropriate recommendations. She also asserts that the prevention of the caries will be obtained by providing proper education by clinicians to their patients and producing xylitol-containing products.