Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum for about 20 minutes after eating may help prevent cavities. How is this possible? Is chewing gum actually good for your teeth?
Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates production of saliva, allowing it to wash away the extra sugars and food particles left in your mouth after eating. Saliva is your first defense against cavities! Saliva also neutralizes acids produced by mouth bacteria; these acids cause tooth decay by damaging the tooth enamel. Saliva also distributes fortifying nutrients and disease-fighting substances throughout your mouth. Saliva provides calcium and phosphate throughout your mouth, which helps to strengthen teeth against decay.
Of course, sugar-filled gum triggers saliva production as well. However, the sugars from the gum feed the bacteria that lead to tooth decay! This is counter-productive. Instead, be sure to look for sugar-free gum with the American Dental Association seal of approval. The ADA seal guarantees the gum is sweetened with non-cavity-causing sweeteners such as sorbitol, aspartame, mannitol, or xylitol. The seal ensures that the products do what they say they will do; in this case, it helps prevent cavities when chewed for 20 minutes after a meal.
Don’t pretend chewing gum is a substitute for brushing and flossing! It is to be used in addition to, not instead of, brushing with fluoride toothpaste and interdental cleaning. For more complete cavity protection, be sure to:
– Brush for two minutes, twice a day
– Clean plaque from between teeth with dental floss, once a day
– Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
– Drink plenty of water
– Visit your dentist regularly
Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after your meal can be a fun, flavorful, easy way to increase cavity protection. Call College Hill Dental Group at 541-753-8365 for more information on how to defend against cavities!