Sugar Free Products, Prescription Varnishes May Help Prevent Cavities

Can consumers who already use fluoride products in their oral health routine choose certain sugar-free gum, lozenges and hard candies to get some added protection against cavities?

A new report says that adding some nonfluoride products to a cavity prevention strategy that includes using fluoride products might add more protection against cavities.

An expert panel convened by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs recommends that sugar-free chewing gum, lozenges and hard candy sweetened with sucrose-free polyols (xylitol or polyol combinations) and a prescription varnish with chlorhexidine and thymol could help prevent cavities when used in a comprehensive cavity prevention program that includes good eating habits and the use of fluoride-containing products like toothpaste, dental sealants and varnishes that contain fluoride as well as community water fluoridation.

The experts say that these nonfluoride options could provide an extra benefit to patients at high risk for developing cavities.

Ask your dentist for recommendations on sugar-free products or if he or she recommends a protective varnish.

The ADA offers comprehensive information on chewing gum, including how it can be beneficial to oral health. There is also a list of sugar free gums with the ADA Seal and a handy comparison chart.

The expert panel report is available on the ADA's Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry website.

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