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Jury's Out on Anti-Plaque Gum:

October 26, 1998|KATHLEEN DOHENY

Between brushings, you say, you can feel that icky plaque buildup?

Enter the new dental chewing gums, aimed at reducing plaque when you're too busy to brush.

Some, including Arm & Hammer Dental Care's Baking Soda Gum and Trident Advantage, contain baking soda as the active ingredient. Arm & Hammer claims its gum removes plaque by up to 25%, when two pieces are chewed daily for a month.

BreathAsure Dental Gum's two active ingredients (polydimethylsiloxane and poloxamer 407) form a barrier on the teeth to prevent plaque from sticking, according to Craig Shandler of BreathAsure.

Are these gums, which are available at discount stores and markets for about $1.50 a 12-pack, worth a chew?

The American Dental Assn. has no formal statement on the new gums, spokeswoman Jann Ingmire says.

"None have the [ADA] seal of acceptance. But we would be delighted if they would apply," Ingmire says.

Dentists concur that more scientific studies are needed before the new gums can be universally recommended.

"These gums might offer some limited help in alleviating the problem," says Dr. Kenneth Burrell, senior director of the ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs.

Too early to tell, adds Dr. Perry Klokkevold, UCLA clinical director of periodontics. This much is known, he says: "Chewing any sugarless gum is going to have a mechanical effect of removing plaque and increasing saliva, which also helps to reduce plaque."

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