How Chewing Gum Affects Your Oral Health

July 11, 2019

bubble gumHave you ever thought about how much gum you chew? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American consumes 1.8 pounds of gum each year! Many of us might consider this number to be high, although this shouldn’t concern you.  Chewing gum has several oral health benefits.

Yes, your teeth rely on toothpaste, floss, and a brush; however, saliva plays an important role. This substance defends your mouth against bacteria and plaque buildup. When you consume food, the pH levels in your mouth fluctuate, and saliva naturalizes acids and rinses away bacteria from food.

Chewing Increases Saliva Flow

Did you know that chewing increases saliva production? As you chew, your saliva washes away any residual food particles and bacteria, while also aiding your enamel by added nutrients to your teeth. Research has demonstrated, that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes following a meal can reduce decay. Learn more about the benefits of saliva.

Sugar-Free is a Must

Bacteria that causes tooth decay is a big fan of sugar; if you’re chewing sugary gum, you will be cultivating a nice environment for that bacteria to live. Make sure you purchase gum that is sugar free; there are tons of sugar-free options on the market, all of which will taste sweet! Ingredients like aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol are used to sweeten sugarless gum, which will allow you to enjoy the experience of chomping while increasing your dental health.

Can I Skip Brushing and Flossing?girl flossing

The answer is no! Brushing twice a day, two minutes each, and flossing are critical to the health of your teeth and gums. Although saliva does wonders, a brush and floss rid bacteria by scrubbing your teeth and targeting those hard to reach places.

Be Careful with Gum

Even though gum increases saliva flow and prevents cavities, we should mention:

  • Xylitol, an ingredient in sugar-free gum is not safe for dogs. Make sure your gum is not easily accessible.
  • Chewing gum is not suggested if you wear braces. Gum can get stuck in your braces, which can be a costly repair if you damage your wires.
  • Swallowing gum can cause intestinal blockage. Don’t worry, gum doesn’t actually sit in your stomach for 7 years—that’s a myth; but, make sure you educate your children about the importance of spitting their gum out once they are finished chewing.

If you have any additional questions about the benefits of chewing gum, Panorama Dental is here to help. Happy chewing!