Taking care of your teeth is one of the most important things you can do. It prevents tooth decay and other serious issues that can cause tooth loss or lead to other health issues. Most people tend to think that brushing and flossing are the only two ways to take care of their teeth. The reality is that they’re missing a critical 3rd component: watching what you eat.
While it’s well-known that sugar can lead to tooth decay, what most people don’t realize is the amount of sugar that everyday products contain. For example, a “Venti” coffee beverage at a popular coffee chain can contain upwards of 73.8 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that people limit their sugar into to around 2 tablespoons per day – which equates to around 25 grams of sugar.
This is one of the reasons why doctors recommend people use sugarless chewing gum. In addition to having beneficial effects on your mouth, it’s free from sugar and won’t contribute to tooth decay – in fact, chewing sugarless gum could potentially help prevent tooth decay.
Why Chew Sugarless Gum?
Over the years, doctors and dentists have realized that chewing sugarless gum after a meal has significant benefits such as:
A recent clinical study has shown that chewing sugarless gum for at least 20 minutes after a meal can significantly help prevent tooth decay. The 2015 study was published in the PLoS ONE journal and found that up to 200 million bacteria can be removed from the mouth by chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating. Most of the bacteria are caught up inside the gum and completely removed when you spit it out.
Reduces dry mouth
Dry mouth is a medical condition where your mouth feels like it’s completely dry and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to quench it. The condition occurs from a lack of saliva and is caused by several unrelated diseases and/or medications. A great way to treat dry mouth is to chew sugarless gum. When you chew your brain signals your mouth to start producing more saliva. Viola! Dry mouth gone, and you get fresh breath as a nice little side effect.
As stated in the previous paragraph, chewing gum can increase the flow of saliva in your mouth. As you chew, your saliva is swished around and helps neutralize and wash away bad acids that are produced by the bacteria on your teeth. The acid is very harmful and breaks down tooth enamel over time which leads to tooth decay. Saliva itself contains calcium and phosphate and those two minerals can help strengthen tooth enamel.
Chewing sugar free gum increases salivary flow, which can help wash away or neutralize acids that occur when food is broken down by bacteria in plaque on teeth. This helps keep teeth strong and limits decay, reducing the risk for cavities.
Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, or your tooth sensitivity is caused by over-using whitening treatments, chewing sugarless gum can help reduce the pain. The increased saliva flow helps neutralize the sensitivity for immediate relief.
Most sugar free gum contains an ingredient called Xylitol. It is responsible for the sweet taste of the gum. It also helps reduce the acids on your teeth that accumulate after you consume drinks or food. The acid reduction properties of Xylitol helps keep tooth enamel strong in conjunction with the phosphate and calcium that’s contained in your saliva.
No More Brushing or Flossing?
It should be noted that while chewing sugar free gum is good for dental health, it cannot replace brushing and flossing. The benefits you get from chewing a stick of gum aren’t as strong as the ones you get from brushing and flossing your teeth.
What Kind of Sugarless Gum to Buy?
At Water Tower Dental Care, our dentists can make specific brand name recommendations that will best suit your needs. If you don’t have a dental appointment scheduled with us for a while, look for gum that contains the American Dental Association (ADA) seal. This means that the gum product has been scientifically evaluated for efficacy and safety by scientific experts who work for the ADA.
The ADA seal means that the gum meets such requirements as:
- Promotes remineralization of tooth enamel
- Reducing plaque acids
- Reducing cavities
- Reducing gingivitis
- It won’t harm or damage oral tissues
If you’d like to learn more about good oral hygiene habits or have a question about sugarless gum that wasn’t answered in this article, schedule an appointment or give us a call. At Water Tower Dental Care, we’re here to help improve your dental health and give you a smile that looks like a million bucks!