With Sticky Stuff against Tooth Damage

New prevention against tooth
decay: Yummi! © Hemera

A study hopes to put these special Gummis on a lot of kids' diets for the sake of their teeth. Volunteers are chewing up Gummi Bears sweetened with xylitol, a naturally occurring sugar that reduces tooth decay, to prove that the special Gummis can be as good for your teeth as xylitol-sweetened chewing gum - and a lot more fun.

“It surprises a lot of people that any kind of Gummi Bear could be healthy for teeth, since these candies are so sticky, and really cling to teeth,” says the study's lead researcher Dr. Peter Milgrom. “Our goal was to get xylitol, which is good for teeth, into kids' diets, without encouraging them to chew gum in school. Gummi Bears are the answer”

Milgrom, University of Washington professor of dentistry and the director of the Northwest/Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, convinced a California candy maker to add xylitol to batches of Gummi Bears.

“It's already a popular sweetener for chewing gum,” Milgrom notes. “After they started using it in Japan in gum, it took over the market. I expect the xylitol Gummi Bears to do the same here, especially since the sweetener doesn't change the flavour or sticky texture.”

Milgrom's team has worked with food manufacturers to add xylitol to cookies, pudding and other desserts that could be introduced into meals at schools and Head Start programs.

The xylitol Gummi Bears are not on the market, so kids and adults don't yet have dental permission to eat sugary Gummi critters by the handful. After the UW study results are compiled next spring, a trip to the dentist could end with the advice, “Every day, I want you to brush, floss, and eat your Gummi Bears!”

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Washington Health Sciences and UW Medicine