Erythritol is a sugar alcohol produced by Aureobasidium sp. from glucose. It is 75–80% as sweet as sucrose and is also nonhygroscopic. The aim of this study was to evaluate this sugar substitute from a cariological point of view. Erythritol was neither utilized as a substrate for the lactic acid production nor for plaque formation of mutans streptococci (serotypes a-h) and certain oral microorganisms. It was not utilized for water-insoluble glucan synthesis or cellular adherence by glucosyltransferase from Streptococcus mutans PS-14 (c) and Streptococcus sobrinus 6715 (g). Finally, a significantly lower caries score (3.1 ± 0.5; mean ± SEM) was observed in specific pathogen-free rats infected with S. sobrinus 6715 and fed with a diet containing 26% erythritol, as compared to control rats fed with a diet containing 26% sucrose (60.5 ± 2.0). Also, rats provided a diet containing 56% erythritol chocolate (23.8% erythritol) and challenged with S. mutans PS-14 exhibited a significantly lower caries score (6.7 ± 0.8) compared to the sucrose chocolate group (82.8 ± 2.8). The main conclusion from this study is therefore that erythritol is a promising sugar substitute from a cariological point of view.

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