Everyone loves chewing gum—about 100,000 tons of it is consumed every year.
Thankfully this popular habit has a benefit that you and your dentist can both enjoy. Not only does gum freshen your breath, but also it helps your oral hygiene by preventing cavities and tooth decay.
Find out how exactly chewing gum helps improve your oral health while also giving you a tasty way to pass the time.
How does chewing gum help my mouth?
Studies show that chewing sugarless gum for around 20 minutes helps reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. It does this by offering several benefits, such as:
Increases saliva production
By chewing gum, your mouth produces saliva which helps neutralize acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth. This also has the added benefit of adding an extra layer of disease-fighting substance in your mouth to reduce the likelihood of getting sick.
Stops plaque from forming
Plaque causing bacteria helps cause a variety of dental decay problems in the mouth by producing acid. They feed off the sugar and other food particles and produce an acid that often leads to cavities and other tooth problems.
By chewing sugar-free gum you are able to produce more saliva which helps neutralize these acids and reduce the harm they do to your teeth.
Re-mineralizes enamel to make teeth stronger
Increasing saliva production also has the added benefit of providing helpful minerals to your tooth enamel. Saliva contains a variety of nutrients that helps keep your mouth healthy such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. They help strengthen tooth enamel while helping keep tooth decay, gum disease, and other infections at bay.
Removes food particles from teeth
Increased saliva production means that your mouth has the ability to wash away any food that might be stuck in your teeth. This prevents food from breaking down in between your teeth and causing tooth decay.
What kind of chewing gum should I get?
Sugar causes plaque to form by encouraging the bacteria that cause it to produce acids that slowly decay teeth. By choosing sugar packed gum you run the risk of damaging your teeth, even if it also increases saliva.
Chewing gum that contains artificial sweeteners like xylitol or aspartame help you get all the benefits and are the ones that are most commonly used in gum today. Other sweeteners like sorbitol and mannitol are recommended as well since they give you all the benefits of chewing without the damage that comes from sugar.
Gum approved by the ADA will carry a seal that can help you choose the best chewing gum for you. All products that go by the ADA have to meet guidelines for safety and effectiveness so you can trust that the products are effective at what they say on the package.
A cleaner mouth is only a few chews away
While chewing gum might help improve your oral health, it should not replace proper flossing and brushing. Keep up your daily dental routine of brushing your teeth twice a day as well as regular visits with your dentist to ensure that your smile lasts a lifetime.