The Ministry of Health in Japan has given the go ahead to Lotte to market its xylitol gum as having a specific health use.

Lotte hopes that from 24 September its sales will increase because the gum's packaging will advertise that it contains xylitol, a sweetener that apparently holds off tooth decay.

The company expects its xylitol sales to have increased 18% to ¥47bn (US$368m) over a twelve month period ending March 2003.