Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses in childhood, and this often repeated infection causes great pain to the child. Currently, one of the preventive measures scientists are studying is to let children chew gum containing xylitol. Scientists have noted that xylitol blocks the growth of bacteria that cause many ear infections, which makes them begin to study whether children who chew gum are less likely to suffer from ear infections than those who do not.
In a study published in the Cochrane database, a university research group in Toronto, Canada, conducted several analytical studies on 3,100 healthy children in day care centers. They found that children chewing xylitol chewing gum had a 25% less chance of developing an acute ear infection than a non-chewing child. However, because the child is asked to chew gum up to 5 times a day, it is not clear whether eating a smaller amount of chewing gum will have the same effect. Moreover, xylitol can also cause abdominal discomfort, and further research is needed in the future.