Americans chew a lot of gum. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the average American consumes about 1.8 pounds of chewing gum annually. Many of us might think that chewing gum is a bad habit, but you’ll be delighted to know that chewing this sticky treat can aid in the health of your teeth!
When we think about the tools we need to maintain our pearly whites, we consider our toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss to be paramount; however, saliva is a key component to this equation. Saliva helps rinse bacteria and neutralize acids that are produced from food consumption.
Chewing Increases Saliva Flow
There are several ways saliva keeps your mouth healthy, and chewing helps increase that steady production of saliva, so we can wash away food particles and bacteria. Research has demonstrated that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following a meal can decrease decay, which keeps your teeth strong. Learn more about the benefits of saliva.
Gum Must be Sugar-Free
Chewing gum with sugar in it does more harm than good. Tooth decaying bacteria loves sugar, so if you’re chewing sugar, you’re keeping those germs alive. Luckily, there are tons of great sugar-free choices that taste sweet! Sugar-free gum contains ingredients like, aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol, which sweeten your gum but won’t causing damage to your teeth.
Does Chewing Gum Replace Brushing and Flossing?
Chewing gum is not the answer to fighting tooth decay and gum disease! Brushing twice a day, for two minutes, and flossing daily are the most effective methods used to maintain your oral health. Brushes physically scrub bacteria off your tooth, which does much more than increased saliva flow.
Be Careful with Gum
Although sugar-free gum increases saliva flow and prevents cavities, we should mention the following:
- Xylitol, an ingredient in sugar-free gum, can harm your dog if consumed. Make sure to store your gum somewhere that would not be easily accessible to your pet.
- Chewing gum isn’t a great idea if you wear braces. Gum can get stuck on your wires, which can cause costly damage and repair.
- Gum doesn’t actually take 7 years to digest; but, if you swallow too much gum in a short period of time, you may cause intestinal blockage. Educate your children about the importance of spitting their gum out once they are finished chewing.
If you have any additional questions about chewing sugarless gym, Greeley Dental Health can help. Happy chewing!