Do you love chewing gum but wonder if it has negative effects on your teeth? While many people think of gum as a type of candy, that’s not necessarily true and in fact, some types of gum are actually good for your teeth. If you opt for sugar-free varieties, you can enjoy many benefits of chewing gum.
Chewing gum actually earned an ADA Seal of Acceptance with evidence that demonstrated its meeting objective requirements for safety and efficacy. The physical act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth; if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth.
Benefits of gum:
- Increasing salivary flow:
- People with dry mouth have an inadequate flow of saliva, which can cause discomfort eating, swallowing, or speaking. Your doctor may recommend various ways to manage dry mouth including gum. When you chew, your muscles compress your salivary glands which helps to release saliva. The ADA says chewing is the most efficient way to increase the flow of saliva.
- Preventing tooth decay:
- Saliva doesn’t just keep your mouth moist and comfortable. Saliva also helps wash away food debris and remove bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Nutrients like calcium and other substances such as fluoride are found in saliva, and these substances help strengthen tooth enamel. Since chewing gum helps increase your salivary flow, it can aid in preventing tooth decay.
- The ADA says you can reduce tooth decay just by chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating. Obviously chewing gum is no substitute for brushing and flossing but consider the benefits of chewing gum as a helpful addition to your oral care routine.
- Teeth can easily be stained by certain foods and drinks. There are some whitening gums on the market that can be chewed after meals and help wash away food particles that could cause stains.
- Fighting bad breath:
- Bad breath is embarrassing, but everyone experiences it occasionally. Sometimes, it can be caused by something as simple as eating too much garlic. In other cases, bad breath can be a symptom of more serious oral health conditions like gum disease or dry mouth.
Does chewing gum replace brushing and flossing?
Chewing gum is an addition to brushing and flossing, but not a substitute for either. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between the teeth once a day with dental floss.
Click here for a list of ADA approved chewing gum.
Here at Verber Family Dentistry, we want to help you with your oral health. Contact us today for an appointment. Regular dentist visits help to prevent serious teeth problems before they cause pain. You can prevent the majority of dental problems by flossing, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and having your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.