Chewing Gum & Your Oral Health
Chewing gum in itself isn’t good or bad, it is the kind of gum that you choose to chew that matters. While chewing gum with sugar can lead to cavities, there is evidence that says sugar-free gum will prevent cavities. There are even some newer advances in gum that might make your teeth even healthier.
Sugar-Free Gum for Clean Teeth
Eating sugar-free gum after a meal or snack is helpful to rinse off acids that are found in the mouth. They will also help to neutralize the acids that are released by the bacteria. Allowing these acids and bacteria to remain in the mouth is harmful to the tooth enamel.
The act of chewing gum in conjunction with artificial sweeteners will also increase the saliva rate in the mouth. This will also help to neutralize those damaging acids and wash away leftover food particles.
Some sugar-free gums are now being sweetened with xylitol. This has an added benefit of slowing the growth of Streptococcus bacteria which is a well-known cavity causing agent. When xylitol is present, bacteria lose the ability to stick to the tooth surface. This slows the cavity-causing process down and can lead to fewer bacteria in the mouth.
Should You Chew?
There are some cases when chewing gum is not recommended, even though it provides some clear benefits to oral health. Avoid chewing gum for the following reasons unless you’ve gotten permission from a dentist.
• Jaw pain or TMD/TMJ disorders
• Small Children
• Dental work has been done in the mouth
Other Important Steps
Chewing gum is just one way to help prevent cavities, but there are other things you should be doing regularly.
• Brush twice daily
• Floss at least once a day
• Use a mouth rinse
• See your dentist twice a year
Chewing gum will not be the only way you avoid cavities. By making a daily effort to care for your teeth, you are setting yourself up on the road to success. Chewing gum just helps to increase your chances of succeeding. Talk to your nearby Fishers dentist and ask for a recommendation on a gum you should be chewing.