Chewing Gum: Harmful or Helpful?

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This common piece of candy is seen as both harmful and helpful for your teeth. But which one is it? You have most likely seen the Trident advertisements that their gum is good for your teeth. Well, they’re not wrong. When it comes to chewing gum, depending on the type of gum you are chewing, it can be quite beneficial to your dental health! Find out what our dentists in Springfield at Chesterfield Family Dental recommend to patients as far as chewing gum go.

Choose Sugar-Free Gum

If you’re thinking right now that your dentist just gave you permission to chew your favorite sugary gum, you’re wrong. When it comes to chewing gum to benefit your dental health, our Springfield dentists recommend that patients choose a sugar-free option. If you decide to chew a piece of sugar-free gum after eating or drinking, it can help rinse off the bacteria on your teeth and neutralize it. This will prevent your teeth from being exposed to the harmful bacteria that eats away at your tooth enamel.

Chewing the gum filled with artificial sweeteners will stimulate the flow of saliva in your mouth up to ten times their normal rate. Your saliva is important for washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids in your mouth. This will help give your teeth a nice clean feeling until it’s time for your next brushing!

Xylitol Artificial Sweetener

One of the most common types of artificial sweeteners in sugar-free gum is known as Xylitol. Xylitol reduces the growth of Streptococcus mutans which is one of the top oral bacteria that cause cavities. When this bacterium comes into contact with Xylitol, it loses its ability to stick to the tooth. As a result, it cannot form a cavity! With regular Xylitol chewing gum use, the types of bacteria in your mouth will change and even fewer harmful cavity and decay-causing bacteria will exist in your mouth or survive on your tooth’s surface.

Gum You Shouldn’t Chew

When it comes to chewing gum to benefit your oral health, we don’t recommend that patients go out and buy their favorite Hubba Bubba or Juicy Fruit gum. These gums contain large amounts of sugar. When you chew a sugary gum, the sugar causes bacteria in your mouth that eats away at your enamel and then causes decay or cavities. If you do want to chew on gum, make sure you read the labels to see if it’s real sugar or an artificial sweetener. For best results, stick with gum that contains Xylitol.

Learn More from Dr. Buzbee

If you’re interested in learning more about preventive dentistry, set up your next dental exam with Dr. Buzbee. During your exam, we will happily answer your questions and make suggestions for ways that can help you better your oral health at home. This can include changing up your brushing habits, flossing and making a habit of eating less sugar in your diet. When you do want to have something sweet, just try to rinse out your mouth, chew a piece of sugar-free gum, or brush your teeth! For more information give us a call or fill out our online form.

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