Sugar-free gum is a sweet treat you can enjoyed without hurting your pearly whites! In fact, chewing sugar-free gum helps to protect your teeth and gums in between meals when you may not be able to brush and floss. How does chewing sugar-free gum help to keep your mouth healthy?
The physical act of chewing sugar-free gum increases the salivary flow in the mouth. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against tooth decay. Plaque bacteria in our mouth use the sugar and starch we eat to produce acids. These acids begin to eat away at the tooth’s enamel. The constant flow of saliva is important to neutralize the acids bacteria create and wash it away to protect your enamel. Saliva is also saturated with calcium and phosphate ions that strengthen enamel and prevent continuous corrosion of the surface of your teeth.
Relives dry mouth
Dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth don’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth can be caused by medications, caffeine, tobacco use, alcohol, or an underlying health condition. Dry mouth causes increased plaque, tooth decay, gum disease, mouth sores, and difficultly chewing and swallowing. Chewing sugar-free gum can increase saliva production to protect your teeth and gums from occasional dry mouth.
Neutralizes bad breath
Bad breath is often caused by a reduced saliva flow, and the buildup of bacteria. Some sugar-less gums contain zinc acetate that can combat the bacteria that causes bad breath and decay. Zinc acetate is an anti-bacterial agent that inhibits the growth of plaque bacteria which cause volatile Sulphur compounds. These compounds are usually the source of bad breath.
Helps remove stains
Some whitening sugar-free chewing gums can reduce stains. These products cannot lighten the natural color of teeth, but they may help to lessen surface stains that build-up on your teeth due to smoking, drinking red wine or coffee. The whitening gum has a low abrasive silica in it which gently cleans the teeth and rubs away tea and coffee stains for a brighter smile.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes following eating and drinking is the best way to take advantage of these oral health benefits. An ADA Seal on the package indicates that the gum company has presented scientific evidence linking the chewing of their gum to better oral health. All gums with the ADA Seal are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. Gums that contain Xylitol have an added benefit of preventing cavity causing bacteria called Streptococcus mutans from multiplying, and adhering to the teeth.
Chewing gum is not recommended for people that suffer from any type of jaw pain or temporomandibular disorder symptoms (TMD/TMJ), have dentures, dental fixtures, fillings or braces.
Sugar-free gum is the best way to freshen your breath, and protect your teeth after a meal. Gum cannot replace a good oral hygiene routine, and regular dentist cleanings. Our dentist at Oldsmar Dentistry are here to help care for your teeth and maintain good oral health for life.