The Truth Behind Chewing Gum
Gums ads talk about the dental benefits of chewing gum after each meal – fresh breath, clean teeth, and pearly whites. But these campaigns do not tell you that the quality of such benefits will depend on the ingredients of the gum you chew, especially sugar. Northview Dental in Keystone is sharing the truth behind chewing gum and good dental health.
Regular Gum vs. Sugar-Free Gum
Regular chewing gums contain sugar, which makes them more cut-and-dry. Remember that plaque bacteria eat sugar, and more sugar means bad bacteria in your teeth and gums. Some sugars also change into a glue-like texture, and this makes it difficult for your saliva to wash it away. In turn, this can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and other dental problems. So pay attention, gum chewers — chewing gum with sugar is best avoided because this is not good for your teeth.
Instead, you can chew sugar-free gum. Take note, though, that trustworthy dentist says not all gums devoid of sugar are teeth-friendly. It still depends on what is in the gum.
Here are three examples of ingredients in sugar-free gums and how they affect your teeth:
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in plant materials like fruits and vegetables. It was found to prevent tooth decay since the mouth can’t turn it into acids that may cause tooth decay. Gum sweetened with xylitol is far better for your teeth than chewing gum that contains sugar.
It is also believed that this sugar substitute can help alleviate dry mouth. In fact, the European Union and the US Food and Drug Administration officially recognized the significant benefits of xylitol on dental health.
Sorbitol is also naturally occurring sugar alcohol. This is more commonly used than xylitol. However, it hasn’t been found to be beneficial or harmful to oral health.
Aspartame is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners. Also, it is sweeter than sugar. It is desirable because this is a low-calorie substitute for sugar. Like xylitol, this doesn’t become turn into an acid that can threaten your oral health, but this is neither helpful nor harmful.
Benefits of Chewing Gum
Makes Teeth Stronger – Chewing gum contains Recaldent or CPP-ACP that stands for Casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate complex. Studies have shown that by adding CPP-ACP to the gum, the risk of dental decay is significantly reduced. Also, it can make your tooth enamel stronger. When paired with xylitol, it can reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.
Increases Salivary Flow – By chewing gum, your salivary flow will increase. This is beneficial for your oral health because it prevents dry mouth. Also, chewing gum helps saliva replace lost minerals from your enamel after eating more quickly. Most importantly, it helps remove debris and food particles from your mouth.
As long as you opt for sugar-free gum, gum chewing in moderation is right for your oral health. Just remember that you should not chew gum in place of eating whole foods. Instead, choose a wide array of good food to ensure that you meet your nutritional requirements.
To learn more interesting facts about your oral health, check out our blog.