Blog Subtitle

Blog

To Chew of Not to Chew: The Skinny on Gum Chewing

Is gum chewing good for oral health?Gum chewing has become a prevalent part of our modern society.  However, many patients wonder whether or not gum chewing is helpful or harmful to their overall oral health.  And if it is helpful, just what type of gum actually helps?

One of the leading causes of tooth decay is leftover food particles in the mouth. While the best option after you eat is to brush and floss those particles away, studies have shown that chewing gum after a meal can also help rid your mouth of these potentially harmful particles.  Gum chewing increases your saliva production (up to 10 times your normal rate), which not only helps wash away the food and particles but also helps neutralize the acids in your mouth.

Another great result of this increased saliva is that the saliva carries more calcium and phosphate into your mouth.  Both of these are helpful in strengthening your tooth enamel, which is helpful in keeping your teeth cavity free.

However, not all gum is created equal.  Gum with sugar can actually counteract all the potential positive effects of gum chewing because instead of helping rid your teeth of harmful particles, it deposits sugar (which is highly detrimental to your oral health) onto the tooth. It is important to pick a sugar-free variety if you choose to use gum.  

The best available sugar-free gum currently on the market is gum that is sweetened with xylitol.  Xylitol helps inhibit the growth of specific oral bacteria that can cause cavities. For the best gum choice, look for gums that have been approved by the American Dental Association (it will have the ADA seal on the package).  If the gum is ADA approved, then everything that the gum claims to do has actually been verified.

While sugar-free gum chewing can be helpful in keeping your mouth clean, it is in no way a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. It is also not recommended that people with jaw pain, jaw disorders (such as TMJ), or braces chew gum.  If you have any questions about whether or not gum chewing is right for you, talk to your dentist or orthodontist.  

 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *