TV commercials, magazine advertisements, and even posters in the dentist’s office promote the cavity preventing benefits of chewing gum. Many people question this claim, which begs the question does chewing gum really prevent cavities? And if so, what type of gum should you be chewing?
Chewing gum promotes the production of saliva inside the mouth. Saliva is necessary for helping to keep the mouth clean between daily flossing and regular brushings. A dry mouth is a dangerous environment because it causes bacteria to harden on the teeth. Bacteria are naturally present in the human mouth to help break down food particles that are left behind after eating and drinking. These bacteria are perilous to the teeth because as they work to break down particles they begin producing acids to assist their endeavors. Acids cause irreversible damage as they eat their way through anything in their path – this being your tooth enamel and gum tissue within your mouth. If the mouth is dry, the acid producing bacteria linger for long periods of time on the teeth, wreaking havoc in their wake. The increased saliva production helps keep the mouth moist so that the bacteria cannot harden on the teeth as easily.
Choosing the correct type of chewing gum is essential in protecting your teeth. It is important to chew sugar-free gum for cavity prevention. Chewing gum that has sugar as an ingredient only encourages the development of bacteria and the destruction that oral acids cause. Look for the ingredient Xylitol in sugar-free chewing gum. Xylitol is known for killing oral bacteria before they are able to harm the teeth and gums.
At Allen Dentistry, we want our patients to do their part in cavity prevention. Chewing sugar-free gum is one simple way that you can help to keep cavities at bay. Of course, chewing gum should never take the place of daily flossing and brushing, but adding gum to your daily routine may help prevent cavities from occurring. If you have any questions, would like a recommendation on what brand of gum to chew, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our practice today.
Posted on behalf of Allen Dentistry