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Sugar substitute found to boost babies' dental health
Updated: 7/9/2008 2:00:21 PM

A new study has suggested that a sweet treat could actually benefit babies' oral health.

Researchers from the US and the Marshall Islands, in the South Pacific, found that sugar substitute xylitol can help prevent tooth decay in infants.

The product is already widely used in chewing gum and other goods, but now it appears that it can help to cut down on the bacteria than causes tooth decay.

A group of children aged six to 15 months old in the Marshall Islands - where rates of cavities are high - had syrup filled with xylitol coated on their teeth every day.

At the end of the study, the 76 percent of the babies who received this treatment were free of tooth decay, compared to 48 percent of those who did not.

Study author Dr Peter Milgrom from the University of Washington commented: "It's a real problem that we've got all these dental disease in kids and we really don't have the tools to battle it."

"Of course, we knew xylitol had these benefits on teeth from other studies that have been done, but they have never been done in small children," he added.

In related news, researchers at the University of Manitoba recently found that the amount of vitamin D a woman consumes while she is pregnant can have an impact on her baby's dental health.

© 2008 Brafton Inc.


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