People have been chewing gum for thousands of years. Ancient versions included tree sap and birch bark tar, while today’s gum contains synthetic materials such as waxes, resins, and sweeteners, as well as a wide variety of flavors. When paired with regular dental care, the right type of chewing gum can be beneficial to your oral health.
Sugar-free gum can have a positive impact on teeth. If you’re unable to brush, having a stick of gum is a quick way to freshen your breath and make your mouth feel cleaner. Chewing a piece after a meal can remove stuck food particles and even help prevent tooth decay.
The act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which flushes out the acids produced by plaque bacteria and sugar in our food and drink. These acids, along with those in citrus fruits, sodas, and juices, can eat into tooth enamel. Chewing certain kinds of gum can help remove these harmful chemicals and replace some of the minerals lost from the enamel.
Does Chewing Gum Strengthen Teeth?
Extra saliva reduces the acidity in your mouth and restores it to normal levels. Saliva also carries calcium, phosphate, and various proteins to the surface of teeth, protecting them from dental erosion and strengthening tooth enamel.
Other Benefits of Gum Chewing
In addition to helping with dry mouth and bad breath, chewing gum has other positive effects. Gum with whitening agents may reduce staining caused by coffee, wine, or cigarettes. Chewing gum can also help people with reflux conditions. Since chewing increases saliva production and swallowing, you may experience fewer symptoms related to indigestion.
How is Chewing Gum Bad for Your Teeth?
Like sodas, candy, and other sweets, sugary chewing gum is bad for your teeth. The harmful bacteria in your mouth feed on the sucrose in sugar, resulting in plaque build-up and an increased risk of cavities.
In addition, some people should avoid gum altogether. Do not give this treat to young children who may swallow it. Gum sticks to braces and dentures as well. Chewing large quantities of gum at once can also put stress on your jaw and lead to problems over time.
Choosing the Best Chewing Gum for Your Teeth
When selecting teeth-cleaning chewing gum, look for brands that have the American Dental Association’s seal of acceptance. These sugarless options use sweeteners like aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol that don’t cause cavities.
In fact, gum that contains xylitol may be the best chewing gum for your teeth. Found in some fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms, xylitol is just as sweet as sugar without the harmful effects. Teeth-cleaning chewing gum with xylitol may also prevent plaque buildup and help reverse decay by replacing lost minerals in the enamel.
Caring for Your Smile
Many people wonder if chewing gum is a healthy habit. To put it simply, it all comes down to choosing the right kind. Having a piece of sugar-free gum after eating or consuming a sweet drink can keep bacteria from accumulating and lower your chances of getting cavities.
While it is not a substitute for other types of dental care, some types of chewing gum are good for your teeth. Make sure you still brush twice every day with a fluoride toothpaste and use floss to clean between teeth. Regular visits to the dentist are also important to ensure your mouth stays healthy. Contact Hassey Dental to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or consultation today!