Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to sugar free chewing gum and reduction of tooth demineralisation which reduces the risk of dental caries pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006
Following an application from Wrigley GmbH submitted pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 via the Competent Authority of United Kingdom, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to sugar-free chewing gum and maintenance of tooth mineralisation which reduces the risk of dental caries. Sugar-free chewing gum is sufficiently characterised. The Panel considers that reducing tooth demineralisation might be a beneficial physiological effect in the context of reducing the risk of caries. The applicant identified a total of 37 publications as being pertinent to the health claim. In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that almost all of the clinical trials of sugar-free chewing gum consumption showed reduced tooth demineralisation as indicated by a reduction in caries incidence, and that there was strong evidence supporting the biological plausibility for the effect. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of sugar-free chewing gum and reduction of tooth demineralisation and a reduction in incidence of caries. Tooth demineralisation may contribute to increased risk of caries. In order to obtain the claimed effect, 2 3 g of sugar-free chewing gum should be chewed for 20 minutes at least three times per day after meals. This quantity and pattern of use of chewing gum can easily be included within a balanced diet.