If your parents always told you not to chew gum or you’ve heard horror stories about swallowing it, you may be surprised to learn that dentists are actually advocates for using chewing gum. Let’s find out more about the benefits of gum and whether you should be using it as part of your oral care routine.
Is Chewing Gum Good for You?
Humans have been using chewing gum in some form for hundreds of years so there must be some reason it’s stuck around. There are plenty of flavors and options out there but if you choose a sugar free chewing gum, this can actually benefit and improve your oral health.
- Sugarless gum can help prevent tooth decay by increasing saliva when you chew it. Saliva washes away harmful bacteria in your mouth, so using chewing gum after a meal can be a beneficial step.
- Tooth enamel can also be strengthened by chewing gum as the extra saliva it produces contains calcium and phosphates that your teeth need to stay healthy.
- Look for chewing gum that contains xylitol, a natural sweetener. Not only can xylitol reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, it also helps keep your teeth healthy by neutralizing the acids produced by bacteria.
- If you have bad breath (also known as halitosis), chewing gum increases your saliva and helps get rid of bacteria that cause your breath to smell. Choose a fresh, minty flavor for an extra helping hand!
- The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends chewing gum and states: “Chewing sugarless gum has been shown to increase the flow of saliva, thereby reducing plaque acid, strengthening the teeth and reducing tooth decay.”
Can Chewing Gum Be Bad for You?
All this sounds great but can there be instances where you shouldn’t chew gum? Here are some examples of when chewing gum might end up being bad for your oral health:
- Chewing gum that contains sugar is not good for your teeth. Because of its nature, chewing gum spends all its time in contact with your teeth so if it contains sugar, you’re increasing your risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.
- If you have orthodontic work such as braces, give the chewing gum a miss. It can get stuck in your appliances and also cause damage to them. Similarly, constant chewing when you have crowns or fillings might also end up causing damage to your dental work.
- Avoid chewing gum if you have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder as it can put extra strain on your jaw and end up making the issue worse.
Chewing Gum Benefits Your Oral Health
If you’re looking to up your oral healthcare, try adding a piece of gum to your routine. Chewing on a sugar free piece of gum for around 20 minutes after a meal can help protect and strengthen your teeth and even combat bad breath. Look for the ADA Seal on a pack of gum to ensure you’re choosing one with the most dental benefits.
If you have any other questions about gum, bad breath or repairing teeth, feel free to contact your dental office. Patients in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas can call Discovery Dental for the most up to date dental technology and techniques in a welcoming and relaxed environment.