The evidence in the study suggests that xylitol was found to be effective in treating caries. The dependent variable (level of caries formation) and independent variable (xylitol usage) were positively related to each other. The study compared treatment with xylitol chewing gum and oral health education within the intervention group with only oral education within the control group. This study is relevant because it can improve the teeth’ condition.
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The level of caries formation was observed to decrease with the constant usage of xylitol chewing gums with the mean score of dental plaque reversal 4.40±5.49. Small changes (mean score of 1.93 ± 2.84) were observed in the control group that did not receive treatment but attended informative sessions about oral hygiene. In contrast, in the intervention group, it was observed to improve significantly.
The study’s methods consisted of several main parts, which are randomization, intervention, measurements, and statistical analysis. Randomization was performed based on three levels: schools, primary or secondary education level, and classrooms. The intervention group students were instructed to chew xylitol gums that contained 0.96 g of the substance in one pellet three times a day after meals. The treatment was conducted during the academic year for nine months. The information sessions for both groups included topics about caries, oral cavity, toothbrushing methods, and oral health overall. The measurements included an examination of oral hygiene and caries. The latter was examined based on a scale from 0 to 6, with 0 for sound and 6 for a distinct cavity. The characteristics of the research were compared with each other using the t-test distribution and chi-square test. One of the biases is that some students were more motivated to maintain oral hygiene than others. Overall, the study makes sense because there is a clear indication of dependent and independent variables and their relationship.
The study’s analysis was appropriate for the hypothesis, as, in the results, there is a comparison between control and intervention groups supported by the statistical analysis. The study is ethical because researchers asked participants and their parents to sign a consent form to participate voluntarily. Moreover, they did not force children to use chewing gums if they did not want to, which is also one of the study’s limitations. The research is considered credible because the authors referred to more than 30 scholarly articles written on a similar topic.
To conclude, the experiment can be considered a good one because it was well organized. However, some limitations make it difficult to be confident in findings. For example, the short duration of the trial (one year) makes the results less significant. This study can be used by dental specialists and teachers in schools to improve the oral health condition of the students and raise awareness about the issue.
Watthanasaen, Supatra. “Xylitol-Containing Chewing Gum for Caries Prevention in Studies with Disabilities: A Randomized Trial.” Oral Health Prevention Dentistry, vol. 15, no. 6, 2017, 519-526.