Is Chewing Gum Good Or Bad For Your Teeth?

Mark McOmieAsk Dr. McOmie Dental Questions

chewing gum and teeth oral health

DID YOU KNOW that the average American consumes 1.8 pounds of gum each year? With so much gum going into our mouths it’s important to know how chewing gum affects our dental health. You may have heard that it’s both good and bad for your teeth… so what’s the real answer? Read on to find out!

Avoid Chewing Gum Sweetened With Sugar

Gum has always been a childhood favorite! What child doesn’t love that sweet burst of flavor or a bubble-blowing competition with friends? Unfortunately, gum sweetened with sugar is bad news for teeth.

When you or your child choose sugary chewing gum, you’re not the only ones satisfying your sweet tooth. The bacteria in our mouths like sugar too! And they enjoy it long after we’ve spit our gum out. These bacteria use sugar as fuel, producing acids that weaken tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Stick To Sugarless Gum

Here’s the good news: chewing sugar-free gum can actually boost your oral health! Chewing gum increases saliva flow in your mouth, strengthening your teeth and washing away food debris and bacteria. While the same is true for sugary gum, the increased saliva flow isn’t quite enough to offset the damage that the sugar can do.

According to the American Dental Association, studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay. Saliva helps neutralize acids in our mouths after eating. It also contains calcium and phosphate which strengthen tooth enamel, our teeth’s first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria.

So, when choosing gum, “stick” to the sugarless kind!

Pick A Gum With Xylitol 

Xylitol is an amazing sweetener. It is a naturally occurring compound you can go down to Greenlife grocery now Whole Foods in Chattanooga and buy bags of it. The cool thing about xylitol is when you chew gum with it, it gets into your saliva. The bad bacteria and only the bad bacteria eat it thinking it is regular glucose. When this happens it reverses the osmotic gradient in the bacteria ultimately killing the bad bacteria! Isn’t that amazing? Xylitol has a second mechanism of action. It is very slick. Once in your mouth it will make your tooth slick and the bad bacteria that cause cavities can’t stick to your tooth as easily! Rendering them in-effective! Which is awesome!

Studies show if we use 6-9 grams of xylitol a day we can change the make up of bad bacteria in our mouths.  Decreasing them to a level that is healthy. The best gum that contains the most xylitol is Ice breakers- Ice Cubes.

Best chewing gum for teeth

 

Pictured above is the gum with one gram of xylitol per piece. If you choose 2 pieces 3 times a day you are on your way to less bad bacteria and a healthier mouth. It takes about 3 weeks to see the amount of bacteria decreased!

Gum Can’t Replace Good Oral Hygiene

Chewing sugar-free gum can only act as a supplement to your daily oral hygiene routine and can’t replace daily brushing and flossing. Keep up your everyday mouth-healthy habits and you’ll have strong, beautiful teeth for life!

Check out the video below to learn more about how chewing sugarless gum can supplement your oral hygiene routine!

Make The Right Choice For Your Smile

Chewing gum is fun and delicious! But remember, the type of gum you choose can make a big difference for your teeth. So next time you’re at the checkout counter and reach for a pack of gum, make sure it’s sugar-free. Your smile will thank you!

We love to treat you! Thank you for supporting our practice. Give us a call with any questions or to schedule a cleaning appointment! When you are here ask all the questions you have about gum and how to benefit from it’s use.  McOmie Family Dentistry 423-899-1112.