People chew gum for many different reasons. Some people like the taste, chew gum to break a bad habit, use it to stimulate brain activity, or find the chewing motion and popping sound to be therapeutic. I use gum myself to stimulate brain activity to help me focus and do things like write a blog post. 😉
Whatever your reason is for chewing gum, let’s look at how gum affects our teeth and see if we can learn something new.
What is gum?
Gum was originally made from natural materials like tree sap. It is now created by synthetic materials and flavoring that are meant to be chewed and not swallowed. The American Dental Association recognizes that SUGAR FREE gum can actually help to protect your teeth.
The following paragraph is from the American Dental Association “Learn More about Chewing Gum”
“The physical act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you chew after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, creating the conditions for decay. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. In the future, look for chewing gum that delivers a variety of therapeutic agents that could provide additional benefits to those provided by the ability of gum to mechanically stimulate saliva flow. For instance, some gum might contain active agents that could enhance the gum’s ability to remineralize teeth and reduce decay, or enable gum to help reduce plaque and gingivitis.”
So, chewing gum can be an added tool to help in overall dental health. Let’s take a look at what kind of therapeutic agents we could look for that would provide the additional benefits the ADA was talking about.
Xylitol is a specific ingredient that we encourage all of our patients to look for when they are choosing a brand of chewing gum. Xylitol.org talks about the dental benefits of xylitol and describes the ingredient as “a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. It does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. This is how it protects the teeth from tooth decay. With the dental benefits of Xylitol, the acid attack that would otherwise last for over half an hour is stopped.”
In our office we offer free samples of Spry Xylitol Chewing Gum because we believe in the additional benefits xylitol can bring to sugar free chewing gum. I encourage you to check out the links below to learn more about the added benefits of chewing sugar free gum and specifically xylitol sugar free gum.
ADA – Learn More About Chewing Gum
Dental Benefits of Xylitol
If you have questions please give us a call. We would be happy to set up a time for you to come in and talk to our Dentist.