Should You Chew Sugar-Free Gum For Dental Health?

You might find yourself wondering if chewing gum is good for your dental health. The answer to that question depends on the type of gum you're chewing on. The American Dental Association recommends chewing on sugarless gum to help you increase saliva production.

Saliva serves as a natural cleaner for your mouth. It washes away food particles that can be converted into acids by the bacteria in your mouth. It also neutralizes any acids that are already in your mouth.

Chewing gum that contains sugar is bad for your teeth since sugar is highly acidic. The bacteria in your mouth also thrive in sugary environments, so chewing gum that contains sugar all day is just asking for tooth decay.

The best types of sugar-free gum to go with are the ones that contain xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener that doesn't cause any damage to your teeth enamel.

How sugar-free gum helps to clean your teeth

Studies conducted by the American Dental Association have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals will help to neutralize and wash off all the acids in your mouth. The act of chewing stimulates saliva production, while the flavors in the artificial sweeteners give the person's saliva production a huge boost. This increased saliva production leads to saliva washing even more acids away from the teeth.

What makes xylitol special

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is a common component in sugar-free gum. It inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth, including Streptococcus mutans – which is responsible for tooth decay. Xylitol takes away the bacteria's ability to stick to the person's teeth, slowing down the cavity-causing process to a trickle. With regular use of gum that contains xylitol, the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in the person's mouth is significantly reduced. The end result is healthier, decay-free teeth.

While chewing on sugar-free gum is recommended for most people, some are better off avoiding it. People who are dealing with any type of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are better off not doing any unnecessary chewing. Spending hours chewing gum can intensify the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders. In addition, people with untreated cavities are better off not chewing gum since it can lead to toothaches.

However, if your teeth are healthy, feel free to enjoy as much sugarless gum as much as you want. Matter of fact, chewing on sugar-free gum is the next best thing for brushing after consuming things that aren't particularly good for your oral health.

More tips for good oral health

Regardless of how much sugar-free gum you chew on, your dental health will still be subpar if you fail to take proper care of your teeth. Brush twice a day, and make sure one of the times you brush is right before you go to bed. Also, make it a habit to floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash to follow up your cleaning routine.

Want to learn more about dental health? Contact one of our dentists today.

Request an appointment in our West Valley City dentist office here:

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