It’s no secret that sugar is a major cause for tooth decay, which is why chewing sugar-free gum is such a great way to improve your oral health while allowing you to enjoy your favorite treat! Sugar-free gum has a multitude of dental benefits, and some studies have even shown that chewing it may help with weight loss and appetite control. Although, it is important to note that sugar-free chewing gum is not for everyone—including people who suffer from temporo-mandibular disorders (TMD), arthritis, and/or digestive conditions. This is because the act of chewing or the ingredients in the gum itself can be harmful and aggravate one of the previously mentioned conditions. Furthermore, you should always consult your dentist or primary care provider if you have additional questions regarding the safety of chewing gum.
The Oral Health Benefits of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum
Sugar-free gum provides a variety of oral health benefits, including the following:
1. Protection from cavities (tooth decay)— Chewing gum helps to stimulate the production of saliva, which also increases the pH of the mouth to prevent cavity-causing plaque bacteria from sticking to the teeth.
2. Some have temporary whitening effects—Some sugar-free gum brands may claim to have a teeth whitening effect, which isn’t done by lightening the actual color of the teeth, but it can help to remove stains after drinking red wine or coffee.
3. Combats bad breath— The combination of a minty fresh flavoring and the increased saliva production both work together to help freshen your breath after eating and drinking.
4. Helps to remove food debris—If you have leftover food debris caught in between your teeth, chewing gum can sometimes help remove trapped food particles.
5. It’s sugar-free!—This is an advantage because sugar is a major cause for tooth decay. Instead, most sugar-free gums contain a sugar alcohol called xylitol. Xylitol allows the gum to keep its sweet flavor without the risk for cavities and the other negative health effects that real sugar causes (obesity, high blood sugar, etc.)
Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Tips
Before chewing gum, make sure to take the following steps to ensure your health and safety:
1. Never replace daily brushing and flossing with chewing gum! Chewing sugar-free gum does not have the same oral hygiene effects as brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste, soft-bristled toothbrush and using an interdental cleaner such as floss.
2. Don’t chew gum if you have digestive issues, joint issues and definitely don’t chew gum if your healthcare provider has advised you not to.
3. Never give chewing gum to a child under seven years old. Before age seven, chewing gum is still considered a choking hazard.
Advanced DDS is a premiere dental practice in Garden City, NY where our team of highly-qualified dentists provide compassionate and thorough dental care. Schedule your dental appointment at 516-825-1100 today.