Can chewing gum improve your dental health? Most people may answer no, after all, the sugar in gum feeds decay-causing plaque bacteria. However, if you chew sugarless gum after meals, you can help to prevent your smile from developing tooth decay.
The Importance of Saliva
Your mouth has natural cavity protection when it produces saliva. Saliva not only cleans away food particles, but it can neutralize the acids that cause cavities as well as bring in minerals like calcium, phosphate, and fluoride which help to strengthen your teeth. A mouth that is moist with saliva is protected from tooth decay.
How Chewing Gum Protects Your Teeth
So what does saliva all have to do with chewing gum? Well, when you chew gum, then your mouth produces more saliva that protects it from cavities. Chewing sugarless gum once a day has benefits for your dental health, but it is most effective if you chew it for 20 minutes after a meal. It is during this time that your teeth are most vulnerable, because plaque will be using the sugars in food to produce acid.
Other Things You Need To Know
There are many types of sugarless gums available that help improve your dental health, though we recommend the kinds that contain the xylitol sweetener. Studies show that this ingredient reduces the bacteria in the mouth and prevents them from sticking to teeth. Something else you should always remember is that even though chewing sugarless gum can prevent cavities, it should not be used to replace routine brushing and flossing. As another note, those with TMJ disorder may want to avoid chewing gum. If this is the case, then try sucking on a sugarless mint as an alternative.