Every year over 100,000 tons of gum are chewed all over the world. The act of chewing gum in various forms has been around since the earliest of civilizations. Today various brands manufacture a variety of types and flavors for us to enjoy.
Chewing gum is often categorized as a type of candy and is assumed to be bad for your teeth. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) has identified nine types of gum that meet their standards and can help protect teeth and prevent the development of cavities.
The following gum products have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance:
– 5 Sugarfree Gum
– Bazooka Sugar Free Bubble Gum (Original and Blue Razz)
– Dentyne Ice Sugarless Gum
– Eclipse Sugarfree Gum
– Extra Sugarfree Gum
– Ice Breakers Ice Cubes
– Orbit Sugarfree Gum
– Stride Sugarless Gum
– Trident Sugarfree Gum
You may wonder how chewing gum with the ADA seal be can be good for you. One thing all of the approved gum have in common is that they are all sugar free. Instead of being made with sugar (which can cause cavities to form) these gum products are often sweetened by aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol, which are all non-cavity causing sweeteners. Of these sweeteners, xylitol is the only naturally occurring sweetener and also the only one which Dr. Baier suggests.
Chewing gum tends to increase the flow of saliva in your mouth. Saliva flow in your mouth helps carry and transfer calcium and phosphate which are known to increase the strength of tooth enamel. The act of chewing gum after eating can help remove food and neutralize the acids released by bacteria in plaque which would cause damage to your teeth and gums. Chewing gum is a great way to prevent halitosis, better known as bad breath!
Here are a few facts about gum and your dental health:
1. If you chew sugar-free gum it can help clean your teeth by rinsing off bacteria from the teeth after meals…just don’t let it make you think you can skip a brushing!
2. Chewing gum may lead to jaw trouble like TMJ due to the repetitive motion and stress you place on the muscles one side of your jaw. This could lead to things like headaches, earaches and even toothaches.
3. If your Sugar-free gum is sweetened with xylitol it may actually help prevent cavities. This is because Xylitol inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, an oral bacteria that leads to cavities.
4. If you’re using gum to help cut out snacks, keep in mind that chewing gum can actually lead to more sweet and sugary junk-food cravings. Studies have found that consuming artificial sweeteners frequently may lead you to find less intensely sweet (but naturally sweet) foods, such as fruit, less appealing as they change the way you taste food.
The final word? The key to chewing sugar free gum is to do it in moderation and opt for a sugar-free pack as it causes far less damage to your teeth and overall health.
It is important to realize that there can be benefits of chewing gum to help prevent cavities, but chewing gum is not to be a substitute for brushing and flossing. Too much chewing can lead to extra wear and tear on your teeth so be sure to consult with us if you experience any pain or discomfort while chewing gum as this can be related to a more serious issue.
Has it been a while since your last visit to our practice? Consider scheduling your next appointment by contacting us today.