Chewing gum has been around for a very long time and with a variety of brands selling gum, you may wonder if gum chewing is even a good habit. While the gums that contain sugar are never a good option, gums that are sugar-free and marked with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal can actually improve oral health.
The action of chewing gum increases the amount of saliva you produce. As the bacteria from the plaque on teeth break down food, acids are released. Saliva helps neutralize these acids and wash this enamel-destroying element away. Saliva not only protects the enamel from breakdown, but also brings more calcium and phosphate into the mix, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Xylitol, the added sweetener in many sugar-free gums, also provides a protective benefit. This sweetener stops the growth of one of the bacteria that causes cavities.
The best gum to choose is one with the ADA seal. This will ensure you’re chewing a gum that provides one or more of the following:
- Reduces acids
- Reduces cavities
- Reduces gingivitis
- Promotes remineralization of enamel
The ADA seal also ensures that the gum itself is safe to chew. Of course, gum chewing is not a substitute for regular dental care, including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing.
While these benefits are persuasive, each person must be aware of the effects gum chewing has on their mouth. For people with jaw problems, especially temporomandibular disorders (problems with the jaw), chewing gum may actually worsen these disorders. Because of the repeated stress gum chewing puts on the jaw and jaw muscles, people who have or have experienced jaw problems should refrain from chewing gum.
The ADA provides a list of sugar-free gum with their seal. There are a variety of gum options to cater to every taste such as watermelon or minty fresh, improving your oral care in a fun way.
For advice on gum or any other dental inquiries, or to schedule a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas.