Thousands of people in the United States suffer from cavities, also known as tooth decay. Left untreated, these conditions can lead to the rise of gum disease and other oral health problems. The leading cause of cavities is the consumption of sugary foods and drinks as well as poor oral hygiene. A natural preventative care method is chewing sugar-free gum, which is a gum that does not have any sugar in it. Instead, natural sweeteners are added for taste, which prevents the contribution to tooth decay.
The best time to chew sugar-free gum is between meals if one is unable to brush and floss. After eating, leftover food particles get stuck between the teeth and can cause a build-up of bacteria. When too much bacteria is left in the mouth, the acid from the bacteria begins attacking the teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum increases salivary flow, which helps to neutralize and wash away the acids. Increased salivary flow also carries calcium and phosphate to help strengthen the enamel. It also produces disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Studies prove that chewing sugar-free gum for twenty minutes after eating helps prevent tooth decay because it helps the mouth rinse itself and re-mineralizes the teeth.
The American Dental Association recommends chewing a gum that has the ADA Seal on the packaging because it’s absolutely sugarless and contains non-cavity causing sweeteners, such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol. The ADA Seal guarantees that the gum met the ADA criteria, which means the claims made on the packaging have been verified and are factual. In fact, only gums with the ADA Seal are completely sugarless. If it doesn’t have the seal on it, then it contains sugar, which means when it’s chewed, plaque bacteria in the mouth uses the sugar to create decay-causing acids.
Because chewing sugar-free gum produces more saliva, it helps prevent dental erosion, bad breath, and dry mouth. Dental erosion, like tooth decay, is also caused by acids attacking the teeth. Therefore, chewing sugar-free gum helps reduce acid attacks and helps the teeth mineralize themselves more quickly. Because bad breath and dry mouth are both caused by the reduction of saliva, chewing sugar-free gum helps prevent this issue.
This preventative care method should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. It’s still essential for individuals to brush their teeth twice daily and floss at least once daily to maintain a healthy mouth.
At McBride Dental, we offer a variety of preventative care options to help our patients prevent tooth decay and any other oral health issues. We perform x-rays, deep cleanings, and provide dental sealants to reduce the development of any dental diseases. Aside from advising our patients to visit us twice a year, we also provide home care suggestions for them to utilize between checkups. We recommend our patients avoid acidic and sugary foods and drinks. We also recommend they use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and a soft-bristled toothbrush. If you’re in search of a dental office to help you maintain your healthy smile, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment today.