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Can Chewing Gum Improve Your Oral Health?

Posted on 9/15/2015 by Giri Palani
A woman about to chew a piece of sugarless chewing gum.When you think about chewing gum, you might not think that this sticky substance could actually be beneficial for your teeth, but in some cases, it can. The key is to choose a sugar free option that is sweetened with Xylitol, and when added to your normal oral hygiene routine, chewing gum can be an important tool when it comes to improving your oral health.

The Benefits of Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health

There are several great benefits of chewing sugar free gum that can improve your oral health.

Gum Can Help to Clean Your Teeth

After you eat a meal, consider popping a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth. Gum can help to neutralize the acids in your mouth while also removing food particles that might be left over from your dinner. This will help to protect the enamel of the teeth, especially when you consider all of the bacteria that will be removed.

Gum Can Stimulate the Production of Saliva

You may be wondering why more saliva could possibly benefit your oral health. In fact, saliva is crucial for keeping your mouth clean. Saliva is needed to wash away acid and food, both of which can lead to tooth erosion. Further, saliva contains phosphate and calcium, which are crucial for strengthening the gums and teeth.

Xylitol Can Reduce the Bacteria that Cause Decay

Sugar free gum is usually sweetened with Xylitol, and this additive is known to inhibit the growth of a certain oral bacteria that is thought to cause cavities. When Xylitol is present, the bacteria will lose their ability to stick to the teeth, stunting the process of developing cavities. With consistent Xylitol use, these bacteria in the mouth will start to change, and fewer will be able to survive on the surfaces of the teeth.

Gum Can Reduce Your Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Chewing sugar-free gum can be especially helpful if you suffer from xerostomia, otherwise known as dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by smoking, cancer treatments, certain medications, and other health conditions. While dry mouth might not sound like a big deal, it can result in more serious issues, including tartar buildup, decay, and yeast infections. If you are living with dry mouth, consult with your dentist to determine what could be causing the condition and what treatment option would work best for you.

In addition to the great oral health benefits that come with chewing sugar free gum, research believes that chewing gum can provide other advantages for your overall health, including support for weight management and diet while improving alertness, concentration, and focus.

Should I Chew Sugar Free Gum?

After discussing all of the great benefits of chewing gum, it may seem like a strange question to ask whether or not you should chew it. However, there are certain people that should avoid chewing, including individuals with TMJ pain. Chewing gum can actually exacerbate the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders. Likewise, if you are going through orthodontic treatment to correct an alignment issue of malocclusion, you should avoid chewing gum, as this sticky substance could get caught in your brackets or wires and might damage the appliance.

However, most dental patients will benefit from chewing sugar free gum, but it is important to remember that this is only one small step in a greater oral health routine. Chewing gum should not be used in place of brushing and flossing, and you cannot expect that chewing gum will serve all of your dental hygiene needs. However, chewing sugar free gum is especially helpful when you are on the go and don't have a toothbrush handy.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your oral health and chewing gum!

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