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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Children's acceptance of milk with xylitol or sorbitol for dental caries prevention

Jorge L Castillo1, Peter Milgrom2*, Susan E Coldwell3, Ramon Castillo4 and Rocio Lazo5

Author Affiliations

1 Departamento Academico de Estomatología del Niño y del Adolescente, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Honorio Delgado 430, Lima 34, Peru

2 Dental Public Health Sciences, Box 357475, University of Washington, Seattle, USA 98195-7475

3 Dental Public Health Sciences, Box 357475, University of Washington, Seattle, USA 98195-7475

4 Departamento Academico de Estomatología del Niño y del Adolescente, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Honorio Delgado 430, Lima 34, Peru

5 Departamento Academico de Estomatología del Niño y del Adolescente, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Honorio Delgado 430, Lima 34, Peru

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BMC Oral Health 2005, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-5-6

Published: 22 July 2005

Abstract

Background

Xylitol, a polyol sugar, has been shown to reduce dental caries when mixed with food or chewing gum. This study examines the taste acceptability of xylitol in milk as a first step toward measuring the effectiveness of xylitol in milk for the reduction of dental caries in a public health program.

Methods

Three different types of milk (Ultra High Temperature (UHT), powder and evaporated) were tested for acceptability by 75 Peruvian children (25 per milk group, ages 4 to 7 years). Each group evaluated xylitol and sorbitol in one type of milk. In the first phase, each child was presented with a tray of four plastic cups containing 50 ml of milk with 0.021 g/ml xylitol, 0.042 g/ml xylitol, 0.042 g/ml sorbitol or no sugar. Each child was asked to taste the samples in a self-selected order. After tasting each sample, the child placed the milk cup in front of one of three cartoon faces (smile, frown or neutral) representing the child's response to the taste of each sample. In the second phase, the child was asked to rank order the milk samples within each category (smile, frown or neutral). Ranks within categories were then combined to obtain a rank ordering for all the test samples.

Results

The ranking from best to worst for the samples across categories (UHT, powder, evaporated) was xylitol (0.0.042 g/ml), sorbitol (0.042 g/ml), xylitol (0.021 g/ml) and milk alone (Friedman's ANOVA). Xylitol and sorbitol were preferred over milk alone, and xylitol (0.042 g/ml) was preferred to sorbitol (0.042 g/ml)(p < .05 sign test).

Conclusion

Milk sweetened with xylitol is well accepted by Peruvian children ages 4–7 years.