Chewing gum is something millions of people enjoy every single day. While this treat tastes great and can lead to fresh-smelling breath, many people wonder if chewing gum is harmful to our teeth.
In this post, we’ll talk about what happens to your teeth when you chew gum, including if chewing gum is harmful or beneficial for your oral health.
Choosing the Right Gum
Several chewing gum options on the market today are packed full of sugar. These products can lead to developing cavities and other oral health complications. However, when you look at the sugar-free alternatives, these can actually benefit our oral health.
Benefits of Chewing Gum
Chewing gum has been around for centuries. In fact, Ancient Egyptians used to make chewing gum from a type of tree resin. Today, chewing gum is mass-produced in gigantic facilities across the world. As people should avoid chewing gum with high sugar content, here are the benefits of choosing sugar-free chewing gum:
Boosting Saliva Flow
The physical act of chewing can greatly increase the production of saliva in our mouths. In fact, chewing unsweetened, non-flavored gum stimulates the flow of saliva 10-12 times more compared to saliva in an unstimulated state.
When your saliva flow is stimulated, this provides a high level of protection against dental erosion. For one, stimulated saliva helps to fight against the negative effects of acids in our mouths. While these acids—found in foods and drinks—lead to the softening of tooth enamel, stimulated saliva helps to clear away this acid.
Fighting Bad Breath
No one wants bad breath. However, the majority of us experience it at some point. Due to the variety of strong-smelling foods we consume, it’s no wonder why bad breath is so common. Foods such as garlic, onions, and various spices can easily lead to this oral health problem. However, it’s important to note that bad breath could be a sign of a more severe oral health issue, such as gum disease. This can be hard to detect given how flavored gum can cover up bad breath.
Another plus of chewing gum is that it can actually help to whiten teeth. There are several varieties of teeth whitening chewing gum that can help fight off teeth-staining foods and drinks. Many of these products should be used after eating to help wash away food particles that can damage and stain teeth. While there are a variety of habits that can discolor our teeth, such as drinking coffee, many people use teeth whitening gum to help limit the effects.
Preventing Tooth Decay
To the surprise of many, sugar-free chewing gum can actually help to prevent tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), using sugar-free chewing gum right after eating can help to reduce the risk of tooth decay. However, remember that chewing gum should never replace brushing and flossing. It’s still very important to follow a proper oral hygiene regimen. This routine helps to prevent plaque, tartar, cavities, and bad breath.
Key Ingredient: Xylitol
While there are a variety of chewing gum brands that can provide benefits for your oral health, look for products with Xylitol. This is a naturally occurring sweetener that has actually been proven to decrease the amount of bacteria in plaque that can cause cavities. Additionally, Xylitol works to neutralize the acids produced by bacteria, which helps to keep tooth enamel hard and protected. This is another way to combat tooth decay.
Chewing Gum Can Strengthen Teeth
Some chewing gum products contain a substance called casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP). This has been shown to actually remineralize your teeth and slow down the process of tooth decay. However, if you’re allergic to milk, you shouldn’t be using this substance.
What Gum to Chew
While sugar-free chewing gum is best for your oral health, you shouldn’t choose just any. Dentists recommend choosing products with the ADA Seal. These products have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they’re safe and effective. These chewing gums are objectively evaluated for safety and efficacy by an independent body of scientific professionals, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.
To earn this ADA Seal, a company must show their product meets the requirements for safety and efficacy for sugar-free chewing gum. Additionally, studies must be shown that the gum can be safely used in the oral cavity. Results from lab studies and clinical studies in humans must be provided by the manufacturer in order to receive this ADA Seal.
Eastgate Dental Excellence
While chewing gum can provide some oral health benefits, it’s still very important to brush and floss daily. In addition, routine dental visits are also essential. If you live in Cincinnati, OH, or anywhere in the surrounding area, Eastgate Dental Excellence is here for you with unbeatable dental care. Our team of dental professionals can show you which chewing gums to use, and we can also provide a long list of dental services.
From minor cavities to root canal treatment, we have a wide variety of dental solutions to keep your oral health in tip-top shape. Eastgate Dental Excellence helps patients of all ages, so call us today to schedule an appointment!