What if your favorite sugarless chewing gum can also help prevent cavities? Seems too good to be true. But, it isn’t. While gum has gotten lumped in with candy, the sugar-free gum variety actually has many health benefits. Gum helps relieve stress and anxiety, helps keep one alert and improves brain function, making one think clearer and focus better. Nicotine gum also helps wean people off cigarettes and other tobacco products. Chewing gum has been around for a while, in fact, ancient Greeks chewed on tree sap, the first type of “gum.” Chewing gum is still very popular and there are many kinds and flavors to choose from. Besides being seen as a component of coolness and attitude. What about your teeth? Can gum benefit your dental health?
Gum and Your Dental Health
The American Dental Association has identified sugarless gum as okay to consume stating that the sugar substitutes of these gums won’t cause cavities like traditional, sugar-loaded gum can. Granted, modern gum is vastly differently from the tree sap gum of centuries past, consisting of numerous chemicals and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sorbitol and mannitol. All the chemicals and preservatives may cause some people to shy away from gum, which is perfectly okay.
For those who love chewing gum, the added dental health benefits will make it even sweeter. The mere act of chewing the gum causes your brain to signal increased saliva production. Saliva is your mouth’s natural, built-in cleaner. Your saliva removes plaque and food debris from the surfaces and in between your teeth. This is your body’s natural defense against cavities. Your saliva also contains protein, namely calcium which restores and strengthens the enamel of your teeth. Some sugarless chewing gums contain ingredients that can help strengthen your gum tissue, reducing your risk of gum disease.
The act of chewing also reduces the potential of plaque getting lodged between teeth and it can knock loose plaque from the surface of teeth. The chewing motion strengthens your jaw muscles and makes your teeth stronger by the clenching that is involved in chewing gum.
With the cavity-fighting benefits of gum, the ADA recommends that if you do chew sugarless gum, try chewing some immediately after you eat and chew for 20 minutes. While sugarless gum does help improve your dental health, it is in no way a substitute for brushing and flossing.
The best ways to improve your dental health is to brush and floss daily and to come and see us at Galleria Dentistry twice a year for a thorough teeth cleaning and exam. Our dentists are highly trained and we put each of our patients’ dental needs first. At Galleria Dentistry, we offer patients concierge dentistry services where each patient is treated like family and their unique dental needs are put first. Call or visit us today to set up a teeth cleaning appointment so you can continue to enjoy your healthy mouth and chewing gum for years to come.