Chewing Gum Can Improve Oral Health

Most of us have been told our entire lives that gum is bad for our teeth for a number of reasons including its sticky quality, sugar content (some gum types), the soreness it causes to the jaw, and the problems it causes to traditional braces.  However, the American Dental Association has now officially recognized that certain types of sugarless chewing gum are proven to contribute to optimal oral health.

How Sugarless Gum Can Help

The major way that sugarless gum can improve oral health is by increasing the flow of saliva.  The act of chewing food increases the presence of saliva and gum chewing increases saliva over a prolonged period or for as long as the gum is chewed.  Saliva flushes out food particles and acids left behind by bacteria that wear down tooth enamel over time and leave the tooth more susceptible to decay or other damage.  Extra saliva helps to eliminate this problem and it also contains calcium and phosphate which strengthen the enamel for better protection.  Chewing sugarless gum after a meal is an easy and effective way to keep your teeth clean.

Not a Substitute for Brushing and Flossing

While sugarless gum can contribute to better oral health, it is not an adequate substitute for brushing or flossing.  Chewing gum after meals in conjunction with regular flossing and brushing is the best way to keep teeth and gums healthy.  Varieties of gum that can have positive oral health effects are marked with the ADA seal and are generally sugarless gum sweetened by products that do not cause cavities.  Chewing sugar gum can help increase saliva flow as well but the sugar also increases the risk of cavities.  It is best to enjoy all varieties of gum in moderation and if you have any questions or concerns regarding chewing gum, you can contact our office.