Chewing gum is popular with everyone from adults to kids. And while it may be a fun hobby to have, could chewing gum be bad for your teeth?
Pros of Chewing Gum
Chewing gum stimulates saliva, which is essential to neutralize acids in your teeth that eat away at the enamel. This washes away cavity-forming bacteria and can prevent gum disease. Chewing gum can be good for your mouth if you choose a minty gum with a strong flavor that freshens your breath in a hurry. Chewing gum also has the benefit of helping to stave off random food cravings so you can have a healthier diet, and has been known to lower stress levels and help you relax.
Cons of Chewing Gum
When you choose sugary gum, your teeth and gums get coated in sugar–which feeds the bacteria in your mouth, causing bad breath and cavities. Chewing gum can overwork your jaw muscles, leading to spasms and pain, and can aggravate a jaw disorder called temporomandibular joint condition. This may lead to permanent problems that require orthopedic treatment.
For some people, the act of chewing gum causes a clicking or popping sound in the jaw. Artificially-sweetened gum, such as those containing aspartame, can contribute to just as many health issues as jaw dislocations.
The Xylitol Myth
There has been a lot of talk about how some gums containing the alcohol sugar xylitol help prevent cavities. There may be benefits, but research has yet to provide substantial evidence to prove this theory. However, we do know that xylitol does not break down in the stomach like regular sugars. I would recommend doing some more in-depth research before buying your ticket for the xylitol train.
If you have questions about which gum is the best for your dental health call the Greenspoint Dental office today so we can help you make good choices! If chewing gum causes you any kind of pain let us know so we can work to find the right dental solution.