Chewing Sugarless Gum Can Actually Help Prevent Tooth Decay
You can’t go past a cash register in a convenience store, pharmacy or grocery store these days without running into a display rack of chewing gum. It’s a perennial American favorite. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American consumes 1.8 pounds of it, on average, each year.
You might think that, like most candy, chewing gum can only do damage to your teeth, but the surprising truth is that there is such a thing as gum that is good for your teeth. In fact, recent clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.
The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.
Sugarless gums are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. Because these sweeteners, unlike sugar, are unsuitable as fuel for cavity-causing bacteria, the number of bacteria decreases, leaving your mouth a safer place for your teeth.
Some gum manufacturers are also beginning to add a substance called Recaldent, which is said to remineralize and harden tooth enamel, making your teeth stronger and less likely to suffer from tooth decay.
However, don’t let chewing sugarless gum replace brushing and flossing. It’s not a substitute. The dentists at Personal Care Dentistry still recommend brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss or other interdental cleaners.
With all these options waiting at the checkout candy rack, it is easier than ever to satisfy your sweet tooth and protect it from cavities at the same time. The next time you are in the mood for a sweet treat, why not bite into a piece of sugar free, cavity-fighting, or enamel-strengthening gum that is good for your teeth instead of a sugar-filled candy?
Your teeth will thank you.
SOURCES: American Dental Association and ColgateLeave a reply →