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Can Chewing Gum Help Your Teeth?

The debate is as old as time, or at least as old as dental care.  Gum chewers and non-chewers alike have been asking, ‘Should we chew gum?’ for centuries, though ancient gums did not resemble our regular chewing gum we know today. They have since evolved from a simple tree sap or gum to the rubbery substance we know today, with some even designed as the healthiest chewing gum for your teeth.. the process of active chewing gum manufacturing has also evolved over time. Each brand varies in recipe, but all gums have a combination of gums, resins, fillers and softeners and vary drastically with added flavorings and sweeteners. Some gums, known as hard chewing gums, may pose a risk of tooth damage.  Though the ingredients are entirely food grade materials, is it safe to chew?  Since taking care of your teeth is so essential, you want to develop good healthy dental habits.  But should chewing gum be one of them?

Effects of Chewing Gum on Your Teeth

there are advantages of chewing gum such as reducing stress and boosting memory, but if you’re wondering how to stop chewing gum, Consider replacing it with mints, gummy candies, or hard candies. Some folks believe it is a weight loss aid, wonder what happens if you swallow gum, or see it as a help to quit smoking.  But when it comes to oral health, chewing gum is a mixed bag, especially if you have a habit of biting your gums. Chewing gum can be both good and bad for your teeth.  It depends on the type of gum chewed.  Regular sugary gum can actually harm your teeth.  The sugar used as a sweetener actually will feed bacteria in your mouth which in turn, can damage your teeth.  however, exclusive therapeutic chewing gum, especially sugar-free chewing gum, can not only freshen your breath but may also improve your oral health.

Sugar Free Gum Benefits

Though any gum may give your fresh breath, sugar free gum may actually help to prevent cavities.  The American Dental Association  reports that studies show that you can prevent tooth decay by simply chewing sugar free gum for twenty minutes after your meal. The gum activates the saliva in your mouth which in turn, neutralizes acid and strengthens tooth enamel. However, if you have dental crowns, you may want to consult your dentist about whether you can chew gum.  This same production of saliva also reduces sensitivity in your teeth. However, not all sugarless gums is created equal. some gums are naturally sugar free chewing gums using alternatives like xylitol or sorbitol. If you wear dentures, you’ll want to choose a chewing gum that won’t damage them.  Be mindful that gums sweetened with Xylitol have more decay fighting benefits that gums sweetened with Sorbitol.   With Sorbitol, some acidic waste byproducts are still produced and the cavity forming bacterial can still digest Sorbitol, which they cannot do with Xylitol.  even though more gums are sweetened with sorbitol, regular chewing gum brings its own set of benefits, primarily because it is cheaper, if you are opting for sugar free gum, choose one sweetened with Xylitol.

Xylitol

You may have already heard of Xylitol, but what is it exactly?  Xylitol, often used in sugarless gum, is classified as one of the sugar alcohols and is naturally found in minute quantities in some fruits and vegetables.  It is made from plant fiber or trees like birch and is considered a “natural” product.  It measures approximately the same as granulated sugar but has 40% fewer calories.   Because it has a low glycemic index, it does not raise blood sugar or give you spikes like regular sugar does.  It actually reduces cavities by “starving” the bad bacteria in your mouth.  It inhibits the growth of  streptococcus, the major bacteria responsible for plaque buildup and gum disease. Sugar free gum sweetened with Xylitol is readily available.  Xylitol is plant based and a natural by-product found in minute quantities of the human body.  Unlike artificial sweeteners in the past, there has been no health risks associated with its consumption.   Side effects associated with consumption of Xylitol are minor, but may include minor digestive issues when too much is consumed.  Long term consumption appears to have no negative side effects.

Chewing Gum for Oral Health

To chew, or not to chew, especially when considering chewing gum for sensitive teeth?  That is the question.  The answer can be summed up easily.  active gum, particularly those gums that help your teeth, is great if it is sugar free and sweetened with Xylitol. However, if you experience tooth pain while chewing gum or a sore jaw from chewing gum, it’s important to consult with your dentist. This gum will clean your teeth and prevent decay, improving your overall oral health. So consider the bubble gum effects and toss those sugary gums, opting instead for chewing sugar free gums for better oral health.Your mouth will thank you. And to get on the road to great dental health, see your dentist regularly.  Contact us today to set up an appointment with the best dentist in Omaha NE! Check out our Dental Facts blog for more interesting teeth and dental facts!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Chewing gum can be beneficial for your teeth if it is sugar-free and sweetened with Xylitol. It can help prevent tooth decay by activating saliva in your mouth, which neutralizes acid and strengthens enamel.

Sugar-free gum sweetened with Xylitol is considered the best gum for your teeth. Xylitol is a natural by-product found in some fruits and vegetables and can help reduce cavities by inhibiting the growth of bacteria responsible for plaque buildup and gum disease.

Yes, chewing gum can help clean your teeth if it is sugar-free and sweetened with Xylitol. The gum can activate saliva in your mouth, which neutralizes acid and strengthens enamel, while also reducing sensitivity in your teeth.

There are no negative side effects associated with long-term consumption of Xylitol, but consuming too much gum can cause minor digestive issues. Therefore, it is generally okay to chew sugar-free gum sweetened with Xylitol every day in moderation. However, it is always best to consult with your dentist for personalized advice.

Chewing gum itself does not directly cause receding gums. Receding gums are primarily caused by periodontal diseases or physical wear and tear. However, excessive or aggressive chewing could potentially contribute to physical wear over time. If you’re experiencing receding gums, it’s crucial to consult with a dental professional.

It’s a common myth that gum takes seven years to digest. In fact, while your body can’t fully digest the synthetic components of gum, it doesn’t remain in your system for an extended period of time. Like other indigestible substances, it passes relatively quickly through your digestive system and is excreted in your stool. This process typically takes about 24 to 48 hours, much like most other food and indigestible material.

American gum has a rich history, evolving from ancient tree saps to the modern varieties we enjoy today.

Most gums have an expiration date printed on the packaging. It’s essential to check this date to ensure freshness and flavor.

Chewing gum can stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize acids and strengthen tooth enamel, especially if it’s sugar-free.

While some people may habitually chew gum, it’s not addictive in the same way substances like nicotine are. However, excessive chewing can lead to jaw discomfort.

Active gum often contains specific ingredients or formulations designed for particular benefits, such as improving oral health or providing energy, while regular gum is typically for enjoyment and freshening breath.

The natural mint flavor stimulates cold-sensitive nerves in the mouth, giving a cooling and refreshing sensation.

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