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Is Chewing Gum Good for Your Gums?

Posted on 5/5/2015 by Tom Bierman

A woman holding a piece of chewing gum.Chewing gum comes in a lot of different flavors and each person has their own personal favorite, but are they really healthy for your gums and teeth?

The answer to that question lies within whether or not you are chewing sugar free gum or regular sugar filled gum. For those who prefer to use chewing gum as a way to freshen their breath and help in tooth decay prevention, sugar free gum is the way to go.

There are several brands that offer a sugar free gum. The ADA, or American Dental Association, places a seal on certain types of sugar free gum to allow the consumer to know that this gum is preferred to help combat tooth decay. It is recommended that people chew sugar free gum for a minimum of twenty minutes after each meal.

Why Chew Gum?
Chewing gum can be a great way to keep the cravings down and to help fight bad breath. However, what some people may not realize is that chewing gum also helps to increase saliva flow. Saliva helps to eliminate all of the bad bacteria causing debris that are left behind from drinking and eating. It can also help in neutralizing acids that the bad bacteria produce and fighting against diseases that can be found in the mouth, helping to protect the tooth enamel and strengthen it.

Gum that contains sugar can also increase saliva flow, but along with an increased amount of saliva comes an increased amount of bacteria. This bacteria can cause a buildup of plaque on and in between the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay. Although chewing sugar free gum is recommended, chewing gum that has sugar in it is okay as long as it is not done all the time.

Can I chew Gum Instead of Brushing my teeth?

Chewing gum can be a great helper in combating decay and helping eliminate the bad bacteria that causes diseases and bad breath, but it cannot substitute for brushing your teeth. If you are out at a restaurant with friends or family and you do not carry around a travel sized toothbrush or floss, be sure to have a stick of sugar free gum, approved by the ADA, at hand. It can help in times that you are outside of the home, but are not traveling for more than a few hours.

Chewing sugar free gum can also help in maintaining a fresh smelling breath and prepare your teeth for when you do arrive home and can brush and floss them as normal. It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day, after each meal is preferred. No whitening product or temporary cleaning agent can replace the benefits of brushing regularly and flossing. Mouthwash can also help alongside of brushing and flossing, but cannot replace it.

What Does the ADA Seal Guarantee?

American Dental Association, or ADA, places a seal on the approved sugar free gum that they back. Gum that has this seal has sweeteners included such as Mannitol, Xylitol, Aspartame, or Sorbitol. These sweeteners do not provide the necessary bacteria to create cavities within teeth. This seal guarantees that the consumer is receiving a product that has been approved by the dental association and is effective and marketed to help with teeth safety.

Chewing gum can both help and hurt your teeth depending on what type of gum you are chewing. Several brands mention the benefits that your teeth can have from chewing their gum, but without the ADA seal, those benefits have not been tested and approved.

For more information on chewing gum and your teeth or other dental questions, please contact us today at (858) 457-4100.
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