chewing-gum-for-teethEver wondered what effect chewing gum can have on your mouth’s health? Many would probably assume that it is not the best for your teeth, and in some cases, they may be right. This would be due to sugar in the gum that could cause the teeth to decay and lead to cavities.

However, you might be surprised to find that chewing gum can actually be beneficial for your teeth, and as a result, it is a good idea to chew some after meals.

So why is gum good for the health of your mouth?

Breaking Down Acid

Several foods contain acid, which can work to destroy your teeth. The acid makes your teeth quite sensitive over time, and it can also lead to tooth decay. This can lead to major dental problems, causing the need for fillings, root canals, and other procedures. Chewing gum generates more saliva in your mouth, which is good for your teeth. This is because the saliva helps to neutralize the acid and wash it away from your teeth. The added saliva can also increase the amount of calcium and phosphate in the mouth, which can strengthen the teeth even further. Some studies have even shown that if a person chews gum for 20 minutes after each meal, his or her teeth will be stronger and more easily fight tooth decay than those who don’t.

It is important to note that chewing gum is not meant as a substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. Dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once a day. By doing all three of these things, namely brushing, flossing, and chewing sugarless gum, you can effectively protect your teeth and the overall health of your mouth.

Not All Gum is Created Equal

As mentioned earlier, some chewing gum is better for your teeth than others. You should look for the ADA Seal of approval. The ADA awards this seal to those companies who produce gum that is particularly healthy. Clinical studies are done on the chewing gum before it can be given the seal. The studies check for evidence that the gum helps fight plaque, promotes remineralization of tooth enamel, and reduces cavities.

To date, the only chewing gum that has been approved for the ADA Seal is sugarless gum. This is because sugar can do significant damage to teeth. It can break down teeth, leading to decay and other major dental issues. Because of this, the healthy choices for chewing gum are sweetened with artificial sweeteners including aspartame, sorbitol, and mannitol.

Avoid a Sticky Situation

So the next time you are in the grocery store checkout, it might be a good idea to take a look at the gum. Knowing what you are looking for, namely the ADA Seal of Approval, will help you make smart gum choices. You might also want to take a look at the ingredients, which can help you make better, more informed gum choices as well. Brushing, flossing, and chewing the correct gum can do quite a bit to protect your teeth and overall mouth health.

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Dr. Nathan Tanner Author:
Dr. Nathan Tanner
About Author
Dr. Nathan Tanner is a dentist in Billings, MT., who has extensive experience through owning his own practice, Grand Avenue Dental Care, and from teaching cosmetic and pain-free dentistry at the OHSU dental school.

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