Does Chewing Gum Help to Reduce Plaque and Prevent Cavities?
We've Got the Facts on This "Sticky Situation"
"Just Spit It out Already!"
You may be wondering, how exactly does chewing gum help to control plaque? Well, it's actually pretty simple. Chewing gum increases the production of saliva in the mouth, which helps to wash away particles of food. This extra saliva also brings with it an increase of calcium and phosphate, helping to strengthen tooth enamel. In addition, the American Dental Association found that sugar-free gums containing xylitol, actually reduce the amount of acid in your mouth, thus helping to prevent dental cavities
Another benefit to chewing sugar-free gum? It can help to reduce tooth sensitivity! Looks like sensitivity toothpastes aren't the only weapon against tooth pain. As for sugar-free gum's sweet rivalry, gum that contains sugar may still increase your salivary flow… but the sugar is only going to encourage cavities. Try to avoid chewing gum with sugar when you can.
Some Things to Keep in Mind
Patients with allergies or reactions to artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and/or sorbitol, should look for brands without these ingredients. Unfortunately, most sugar-free gum brands on the market contain these ingredients – but not all! Pür Gum is a great example of a sugar-free gum, free of these ingredients, and sweetened with xylitol (our acid-reducing friend)!
Patients with jaw problems or conditions such as TMD should be careful with their gum use. Chewing gum too often could also potentially lead to these problems, even if a patient has never experienced issues with the jaw. If you're chewing and feel that your jaw is becoming tired or overworked, put the gum away for a little while. If the problem persists, see your dentist. In addition to potentially putting excess stress on the jaw, continuous gum chewing may also lead to stomach discomfort. For example, after enjoying a meal, give your stomach some time to rest and digest… and in general, avoid popping one gum after the other.
So, do you think you're going to up your gum-chewing game after reading this? We definitely encourage it!
Teeth First Dental Network offers services to patients with locations all across Ontario. Ready for your next dental appointment? Contact one of our dental clinics near you today!