New study suggests chewing one additional piece of sugar-free gum per day could reduce global dental expenditures from treating tooth decay by $4.1 billion a year

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New study suggests chewing one additional piece of sugar-free gum per day could reduce global dental expenditures from treating tooth decay by $4.1 billion a year

 

World-first data study in the American Journal of Dentistry builds on evidence to support the benefits of sugar-free gum in oral care

 

New Delhi 25, May 2017 – Increasing consumption of sugar-free chewing gum by just one piece per day could save billions of dollars worldwide on dental expenditures from treating tooth decay, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Dentistry. The data is significant given tooth decay and oral diseases rank fourth among the most expensive global health conditions to treat, according to the World Health Organization.2 While tooth decay is largely preventable, it still affects 60-90% of schoolchildren and nearly all adults globally.2

The first-of-its-kind global study suggests that if current consumers of sugar-fee gum increase their consumption by just one extra piece per day as part of a complete oral hygiene routine, global dental expenditures from treating tooth decay could be reduced by US$4.1 billion a year.1 The data provides new insights that build on the extensive body of evidence supporting the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum in oral care.

The study was funded by Wrigley and conducted by specialist health economics research group, the Institute of Empirical Health Economics (IFEG), with input from an international scientific steering committee comprised of thought-leaders in dental and public health and economics.

“The study represents a solid and substantial approach to the accurate calculation of cost savings in industrial countries that would arise from increasing sugar-free gum consumption,” said Professor Reinhard Rychlik, MA MD, PhD, PhD, Director of the IFEG and the study’s lead author. “Chewing sugar-free gum as a preventive measure for tooth decay has the potential to deliver significant dental care cost savings worldwide.”

Gourinandan T Tonpe, Director, Innovation for Wrigley India and South East Asia Lead for Research & Development said,“Further to the potential reduction in global dental expenditures from treating tooth decay, the study found estimated cost savings of US$ 0.55 Million for India each year.” Current estimated costs of treating tooth decay in India are US$ 6,252,500,000.

Potential cost savings reach $2.07 billion a year in the U.S., representing nearly 3 percent of expenditures on treating tooth decay. Comparatively, potential cost savings could reach $1.1 billion a year in Europe and $149 million a year in China.1

In addition to the well-established clinical benefits, for the first time, this study models the reduction in the relative risk of tooth decay and subsequent cost savings for dental care as a result of increased consumption of sugar-free gum as part of a complete oral hygiene routine. While further studies are needed, these are exciting new insights which add to the extensive body of evidence on the benefits of sugar-free gum in oral care.” said Michael Dodds, BDS, PhD., Wrigley’s lead oral health scientist.

Recognized Oral Health Benefits of Sugar-free Gum

Global rates of tooth decay continue to present a major public health concern – nearly all adults experience tooth decay2 – suggesting that new preventive strategies may be required to supplement existing measures in reducing the risk of tooth decay and improving oral health. The oral care benefits of chewing sugar-free gum are widely recognized and supported by various regulatory and governmental authorities,3,4 FDI World Dental Federation and nearly 20 national dental associations around the world. The growing body of evidence could support the inclusion of sugar-free gum in national oral healthcare advice, alongside other proven oral hygiene behaviours in future.

 

About the study

The research modelled the potential decrease in dental care costs from tooth decay for 25 industrial countries, namely1:

 

Europe

Americas Asia Africa Australia
France Argentina China South Africa Australia
Germany Brazil India    
Italy Canada Indonesia    
Poland Mexico Japan    
Russia United States Saudi Arabia    
Spain   Taiwan    
Sweden   United Arab Emirates    
Switzerland        
Turkey        
Ukraine        
United Kingdom        

The study noted that while regular chewing of sugar-free gum should not replace good oral hygiene habits such as brushing teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and regular dental check-ups, it could have an impact on preventing tooth decay, which could lead to cost savings for healthcare systems. Chewing sugar-free gum increases the production of saliva, which can help wash away food particles and can help to restore optimum plaque pH levels faster than without chewing sugar-free gum.3

The study’s results were calculated using a budget impact analysis to model the decrease in the relative risk of tooth decay and the subsequent cost savings for dental care. Annual consumption of sugar-free gum, dental expenditures due to tooth decay, chewing frequencies by age groups and the relative risk reduction for tooth decay due to the consumption of sugar-free gum were identified and used as model parameters. Three different scenarios were calculated.

The Institute of Empirical Health Economics

The Institute of Empirical Health Economics (IfEG) is an extra-university research unit for the areas of medical and pharmaceutical research. For more than 20 years, IfEG have been working for national and international companies on assignments involving medicine, clinical research, marketing and controlling.

Team members include highly-experienced physicians, scientists and economists who are supported in research from a dedicated biometry department. By combining experience and knowledge in marketing and research, over 500 projects have been realized to date.

The Scientific Steering Committee

This research was undertaken by IfEG, with input from an international scientific steering committee comprised of thought-leaders in dental and public health, and economics:

  • Hanny Calache, PhD, MDSc, Centre for Population Health Research, Deakin University, Australia
  • Franklin Garcia-Godoy, DDS, MS, PhD, phD, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, USA
  • Elizabeth Kay, BDS, MPH, PhD, Foundation Dean, Peninsula Dental School, Plymouth University, UK
  • Yan Si, PhD, Department of Preventive Dentistry, Peking University School and Hospital of Stomatology, China
  • David Zilberman, PhD, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, USA
  • Stefan Zimmer, DDS, MPHD, PhD, Department for Dental, Oral and Craniomandibular Sciences, Witten/Herdecke University, Germany

The role of sugar-free gum in oral care

Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes can help protect teeth by increasing the amount of saliva produced. Saliva helps wash away food particles before they become trapped in teeth and contains important minerals, such as calcium and phosphate ions, which help return the mouth to the right pH level and rebuild the protective layer of enamel on teeth, known as remineralization.

The role of sugar-free gum in oral care is widely recognized and accepted by experts, dental associations and regulatory authorities around the world. The European Commission (EC) has approved five oral health claims for sugar-free chewing gum, one of the few food categories to gain such recognition.

The Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program

The Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) partners with dental professionals worldwide, helping them improve their patients’ oral health through one additional simple and enjoyable step in their daily routine: chewing sugar-free gum after eating and drinking on-the-go. For more than 25 years, WOHP has supported independent clinical research into the benefits of chewing gum, including saliva stimulation, plaque acid neutralization and tooth strengthening to help dental professionals and their patients understand the role of sugar-free gum as a convenient tool for everyday oral care. WOHP is one example of how we make a difference to people and the planet through performance, and how we incorporate our principles based approach to business into all that we do. To find out more visit www.Wrigley.com

About Wrigley India

Wrigley is a recognized leader in confections with a wide range of product offerings including gum, mints, hard and chewy candies, and lollipops. Wrigley’s world-famous brands – including Extra®, Orbit®, Doublemint®, and 5™ chewing gums, as well as confectionery brands Skittles®, Starburst®, Altoids® and Life Savers® – create simple pleasures for consumers every day. With operations in approximately 50 countries and distribution in more than 180 countries, Wrigley’s brands bring smiles to faces around the globe. The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, employs approximately 17,000 associates globally, and operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. Wrigley began its India journey in 1995 and offers a range of gums and confectionery brands including Orbit®, Doublemint®, Boomer®, Pim Pom®, and Solano®. Wrigley India has factories in Bangalore and Baddi, and an innovation center in Bangalore.

 

 

References

  1. Rychlik R, Kreimendahl F, Blaich C et al (2017). A global approach to assess the economic benefits of increased consumption of sugar-free chewing gum. Am J Dent, in press.
  2. World Health Organization. Oral Health Disease Burden. Last Accessed August 2016. Available at: www.who.int/oral_health/disease_burden/global/en/
  3. EFSA (2010) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to sugar-free chewing gum and reduction of tooth demineralization which reduces the risk of dental caries pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. Available at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/scientific_output/files/main_documents/1775.pdf. Last accessed: October 2015
  4. Health Canada. Summary of Health Canada’s assessment of a health claim about sugar-free chewing gum and dental caries risk reduction. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/claims-reclam/assess-evalu/gum-gomme-dental-carie-dentaireeng.php Last accessed December 2016.