Everyone chews gum once in a while. It saves your breath. It ‘cleans’ your teeth; it might even whiten them a bit, but this simple and common habit might be worse than you thought.
Keep in mind that chewing gum is made of many things; gum base, aspartame, sorbitol, and xylitol to name a few. It likely also contains a sugar substitute and corn syrup.
Although gum is never swallowed, so people assume it does no harm, what about your teeth?
Gum touches your teeth for sometimes prolonged periods of time if you’re an avid gum chewer. Find out if it’s really helping or hurting your teeth.
How does chewing gum affect your teeth?
Chewing gum isn’t all bad. In fact, it has some of the common benefits everyone knows— like freshening your breath, as well as several other advantages.
For example, chewing gum decreases heartburn. That’s right, as surprising as it may seem, the extra saliva that the mouth produces when chewing gum, balances stomach acid. Another strange fact is that chewing gum can help with weight loss because it takes the place of comfort eating.
While chewing gum might do a little good, there are also a few disadvantages. For example, even if it never hits your stomach, there’s still sugar in gum. While the gum sits in your mouth for prolonged periods of time, this increases the risk of wear, damage, and tooth decay from the presence of sugar on the teeth.
Another issue is that it can further increase jaw/ joint issues when chewing.
Are there benefits to sugarless gum?
If you’re going to chew gum, might as well make it sugarless gum. Sugarless gum helps decrease the risks associated with the above-mentioned chewing gum. The sugar in gum is what can lead to tooth damage and decay. Without it, sugarless gum can actually increase cavity prevention. The extra saliva that is produced may help wash away food and other excess bacteria in the teeth.
Quite the opposite of regular gum, sugar free gum can also strengthen enamel on the teeth, thanks to one super ingredient: xylitol.
What is xylitol?
Xylitol is the non-sugar sweetener that is in sugar free gum. Not only is it helpful for sweetening, but xylitol reduces the acid left behind on your teeth from food and drink, thus strengthening the enamel. In addition to xylitol, sugarless gum has more calcium and phosphates to protect your teeth as well.
Does gum prevent cavities?
It can— as long as you choose the right kind. Clearly, if the sugar in gum might cause tooth damage and decay, don’t chew it. Choose sugar-free gum and it might contribute to cavity prevention. Sugar free gum may reduce the amount of acid and residue left behind from food and drinks, as well as strengthen the teeth with other calciums.
Chewing gum doesn’t have to be a bad habit. Make it a smart one by chewing the right gum and make sure to practice twice daily brushing and visit your dentist regularly.
Long term dental health is the goal for each of our patients at our Commerce Dental Practice. With over 18 years’ experience in improving smiles, Dr. Sedki offers the latest technology in modern dentistry with a personalized experience in cosmetic dentistry, dental treatments, children’s dentistry and more! Call Sedki Dentistry and schedule a Free Dental Consultation today!