Believe it or not, chewing gum has been around since ancient times. For instance, the Greeks chewed a type of resin created from certain trees called mastiche. On the other side of the world, the Mayans chose to chew on the sap of the sapodilla tree called tsiclte. From the north, Native Americans favored a spruce tree sap which they would eventually pass on to the European settlers. Did these different cultures know of some benefits for keeping their mouths healthy? Let’s take a look! Is chewing gum good for your teeth?
In the case of chewing gum for dental benefits, it’s the type of gum you chew that makes the difference. In most chewing gums on the market, there is a chemical called Sucrose (sugar). This Sucrose, when broken down by the oral bacteria in your mouth, can produce biofilm and acid. This buildup of biofilm and acid causes demineralization of the tooth enamel.
To prevent this from happening, the ADA recommends that you choose sugar-free gums to chew. Studies show that chewing a piece of sugar-free gum after meals actually helps rinse your mouth and neutralize the acid production released by the bacteria in plaque. Because most sugar-free gums contain Xylitol, when you chew these types of sugar-free gums the growth of harmful oral bacterias like Streptococcus is greatly reduced.
Simply put, Xylitol, when chewed regularly, can help stunt the cavity-causing process.
The act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in the mouth. When you chew gum that has been artificially sweetened, you increase your normal production of saliva by up to 10 times. This heightened amount of saliva is beneficial, especially after meals and snacks, in helping to remove unwanted food particles.
Stimulated saliva flow can also assist with protecting against dental erosion by creating a natural barrier between your teeth and harmful bacteria in the mouth.
So, is chewing gum good for your teeth?
While chewing gum is never a replacement for brushing your teeth, flossing, or using mouthwash, some sugar-free gums that contain Xylitol can act as an extra weapon to fight against tooth decay and bacteria. If you’re unsure about which sugar-free gum to switch to, check for the ADA seal of approval on the packaging or ask your dentist the next time you come in for a visit.
If you’re ready to add another fun way to fight against tooth decay, contact North View Dental. They will be more than happy to help guide you through which gums are safe and recommended for daily use. Please never feel judged and don’t hesitate!