The Vipeholm Experiment

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

The Vipeholm experiment sought to determine the role of carbohydrates in dental cavity formation through a series of tests carried out in a Swedish mental institution in the 1940s. In the 1930s, dental health in Sweden was exceptionally poor, with 99.9 percent of the population suffering from cavities. Thus, in 1938, the Swedish Parliament passed a costly resolution to provide all citizens with dental care (the Public Dental Service). The National Medical Board was asked to conduct a preventative clinical study at Vipeholm, an institution for the mentally disabled in Lund whose isolation would allow for the kind of controlled conditions the experiment required.