There is both good news and bad news when it comes to chewing gum and your oral health. While not all gum is bad for your teeth, you should try to avoid all gums that contain sugar. Knowing what to reach for the next time you get an urge to chew without eating something or wanting to freshen your breath will go a long way towards keeping your teeth and gums in the best possible condition.
Look for Sugarless Gum
Gum without added sugar is fine to chew and can even complement your normal oral healthcare routine. Studies from the American Dental Association indicate that chewing a piece of sugarless gum for 20 minutes each day helps to preserve your natural teeth by preventing tooth decay.
How can chewing sugarless gum be good for your teeth? Your mouth produces saliva each time you bite down to chew, which in turn neutralizes acid that has formed on your teeth and washes it away. All people develop acid on their teeth when food breaks down. The trick is not to let it sit there too long or it will begin to wear away at enamel as well as cause decay.
Keep in mind that you stimulate acid-clearing saliva every time you eat or chew gum. Having more saliva present in your mouth produces a greater amount of calcium and phosphorus. Each of these elements help to keep the enamel in your teeth strong and guard against tooth decay.
Due to its research findings on chewing sugarless gum, the American Dental Association recommends chewing a piece after a meal at least once a day. Sugarless gum meets the ADA’s tough standards as a product that helps to reduce cavities and plaque acids and is safe for oral tissues. Another benefit of chewing sugarless gum after a meal is that it gives you fresh breath if you are unable to brush your teeth right away.
Avoid Gum with Added Sugar
Gum containing added sugar has the opposite impact of sugarless gum. Instead of helping you fight tooth decay, non-sugarless gum promotes it because it leaves a coating of sugar on your teeth each time you chew a piece. The sugar then potentially remains on your teeth for hours until the next time you brush your teeth. Too much sugar in your diet causes a build-up of plaque and tartar that put you at risk for tooth decay, loss of tooth enamel, gum disease, and other significant oral health issues.
When Was Your Last Dental Check-Up?
Avoiding sugary foods and brushing and flossing at least twice a day are the most important things you can do for your oral health. However, bi-annual cleanings with an inspection of your tooth and gums is also essential. Please schedule a preventive care exam at Southbridge Dentistry or call (303) 798-4967 if it has been longer than six months since we saw you last.