How Chewing Gum Affects Your Oral Health

July 23, 2019

chewing gum Most of us categorize gum as a sweet treat that shouldn’t be enjoyed too often; however, the average American consumes about 1.8 pounds a year! Even though this seems excessive, we are here to tell you that this sticky snack has several benefits that encourage good oral health.

Although your toothbrush, paste, and floss shouldn’t be dismissed, your saliva plays a huge role in defending your teeth and gums from bacteria. An excess of saliva actually creates a clean mouth that neutralizes bacteria and acids.

So, how can we create more saliva?

Chewing Increases Saliva Flow

Research has concluded that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes a day after a meal can cut back on decay and increase saliva production, washing away some of the germs.

In addition to rinsing away germs, increasing your saliva product has other benefits, like keeping your enamel strong and preventing heartburn.

Choose Sugar-Free

In order to reap the benefits, we recommend shopping for your gum in the sugar-free section. There are plenty of gum selections that carry ingredients like aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol, which add sweet flavors without causing decay.

Sugary gum only perpetuates the bacteria that is running freely within our mouth after a meal, so it’s best to stick to sugar-free!

Does Chewing Gum Replace Brushing and Flossing?

dental check upIt may seem like gum is the answer to all of our dental woes, but unfortunately, we can’t rely on it to replace our oral hygiene routine. Simply chewing gum won’t promote a clean mouth; brushing and flossing need to be added to this equation!

In order to keep your smile healthy and sparkling, a toothbrush, floss, and regular dental visits are necessary.

Take Precautionary Measures

Although sugar-free gum is a great preventative measure to keep your mouth fresh and cavity-free, there are a few negative effects to keep in mind:

  • While you enjoy chewing gum, your dog doesn’t! Actually, xylitol, a common ingredient in gum is toxic for dogs, so make sure to keep your gum out of reach.
  • Wearing braces and chewing gum isn’t recommended. Gum can loosen or even damage wires, causing extra orthodontic expenses.
  • The age-old myth that swallowed gum doesn’t digest for 7 years is scary but definitely untrue; even so, swallowing large quantiles of gum can cause serious intestinal issues. Always supervise your children while they chew and make sure to educate them about spitting their gum out once they are finished.

For more information about gum, saliva, or your oral health, contact us today!

Posted In: Dental Hygiene