There’s no doubt that chewing gum is a fairly popular activity – tons of gum are consumed each year. And while many of us may chew gum just for a quick flavor boost, or to refresh our breath, or to exercise our jaws, studies show that there are actual dental benefits to chewing sugarless gum.
According to the American Dental Association, clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can actually help prevent tooth decay.
How? Simply because when you chew sugarless gum, you ramp up the flow of saliva in your mouth. Saliva, in turn, rinses away food and other bad stuff. The saliva also neutralizes acids caused by cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. What’s more, increased saliva flow contains elevated amounts of calcium and phosphate – components that serve to help repair early decay and strengthen tooth enamel.
Chewing gum that does have sugar in it does serve to increase saliva flow, but the sugar combines with the bacteria in the mouth to form cavity-causing acids. That’s why it’s best to stick with sugarless gum. When looking for sugarless gum, be sure to look for the ADA seal on the package. Sugarless gums use sweeteners such as xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and aspartame.
While chewing sugarless gum does bring with it certain oral health benefits, don’t let that be a replacement for your routine dental hygiene routine. Chewing sugarless gum should complement your normal routine and should not be a replacement for regular brushing and flossing. So be sure to continue to brush twice a day – using fluoride toothpaste. And don’t forget to floss!
Of course, no dental hygiene routine would be complete without regular check-ups to your family dentist. Professional cleaning is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth (and a perfect smile)! So if you live in the Columbus or Reynoldsburg areas and need to see a family dentist, know that we are accepting new patients and would be thrilled for you to be our next new patient. Want to learn more about us? Check us out on Facebook.