After a meal or a long day at work, chewing gum is the perfect way to freshen breath and clean your mouth. With misinformation about chewing gum prevalent on the Internet, it’s tough to know if chewing gum is helpful or harmful to teeth. Sure, it’s nice to have the cool, minty taste in your mouth, but is it doing more harm than good?
Some chewing gum contains sugar or artificial sweeteners that may be damaging to the teeth. What is not a well-known fact, is that all chewing gum stimulates the flow of saliva to the mouth. Saliva works to clean teeth, although the sugar in the gum may also act as a coating for the mouth.
While it may be easy to pop a piece of gum in your mouth after a meal, gum should never be allowed to take the place of regular flossing and brushing. We recommend brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and clean plaque from between the teeth with floss.
Saliva in the mouth is increased during the physical act of chewing. Chewing a piece of gum after eating can rinse away the acids and bacteria that may stick to your teeth after a meal. The food you eat is broken down by plaque and turns into acid. If left in your mouth for long periods of time, those acids will eat away at tooth enamel and create a prime environment for tooth decay.
When saliva production is increased in the mouth, it carries extra phosphates and calcium that aid in the strengthening of tooth enamel. Statistics show that tooth decay can be prevented by chewing sugarless gum after a meal.
Try to choose a sugarless gum with the CDA seal. These products have been recognized by the Canadian Dental Association. Look for a chewing gum that remineralizes teeth, reduces decay, stimulates saliva flow or reduces gingivitis.
In order to receive the approval of the CDA, there must be evidence that the statement of claim made by the manufacturer can be scientifically supported.
There are some habits you can get into that will help your teeth stay healthy. Chew sugarless gum after every meal, brush and floss twice a day and schedule a regular checkup with a dentist here at Oakville Place Dental Office. Enjoy our friendly environment as we work to improve your oral health!