Many may be unaware of the benefits that chewing gum has on the teeth. Not only does gum freshen the breath, it increases the production of saliva and keeps the mouth lubricated. Saliva is responsible for removing excess food and debris from between the teeth, which is a great way to keep the teeth clean for individuals who are unable to brush or floss in between meals. When food and other bacteria is unremoved and continues to build up over time, there’s a large chance that tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss will occur. These issues develop when the bacteria in the mouth produces acids that eventually attack the outer layer of the teeth, also known as enamel. Fortunately, saliva has the ability to neutralize the bacteria and also dispenses disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth for future protection. Saliva also contains calcium and phosphate, which helps strengthen the enamel.
The most beneficial type of gum to chew is sugarless gum that has the ADA seal on the packaging. Gum with the ADA seal has been approved and does not contain any sugar. Instead, the gum is sweetened by sweeteners that do not cause cavities, such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol. Those purchasing gum with the ADA seal on it can be sure that the gum has met the ADA criteria, meaning the claims made on the label are factual and the product is safe and effective. Whenever a company claims to make sugar-free gum, the ADA verifies all of the information and only provides the seal if the gum is in fact sugar-less, safe, and beneficial.
Chewing gum will increase saliva production even if it does contain sugar. However, chewing gum that contains sugar is counterproductive because the sugar fuses with the plaque on the teeth to produce acids that attack the enamel. Therefore, an increase in saliva won’t make much of a difference if acids are continuously being produced.
Although chewing sugarless gum is a great incorporation into one’s oral care regimen, it should not replace brushing and flossing. Everyone should still brush at least twice daily and floss once daily to ensure that all bacteria and food is removed. Chewing gum throughout the day between brushing and flossing is a great addition to keep the mouth clean, but it is not a permanent solution.
At McBride Dental, we have spent years providing impeccable oral care service to our clients that assist them with maintaining the healthy smile they desire. We have a number of preventative care services that help our clients reduce their chances of developing oral complications, such as cavities, gum infections, and tooth loss. For those who are suffering from those issues, we also offer gum disease treatment, dental implants, and dentures to help them recover their beautiful smiles. If you are in the San Diego area and are interested in our services, call us at 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment.