Although chewing gum can often be perceived as a dirty or annoying habit, it may actually help prevent cavities. At Firouzian Dentistry, we want our patients to have the healthiest teeth around. In addition to regular dental exams and proper at-home hygiene, chewing gum may also be important to include in your routine. Before you judge the next person you see blowing bubbles, learn about how chewing gum can help prevent cavities with the information below.
Choose Sugarless Gum
Unfortunately, not just any gum will prevent cavities. It’s important to choose sugarless gum. Sugarless gum doesn’t contain any sugar that often results in plaque bacteria that causes tooth decay. All sugarless gums stamped with the ADA seal are sweetened using xylitol aspartame, sorbitol, or mannitol which are all non-cavity causing. You can chew your gum knowing it won’t cause cavities.
How Does Chewing Gum Prevent Cavities?
When you chew on sugarless gum, your mouth actually increases its flow of saliva. Saliva washes away food and debris from your teeth, neutralizes acids from bacteria, and also provides substances that fight diseases in your mouth. In addition, increased saliva carries phosphate and calcium to strengthen tooth enamel which is responsible for protecting your teeth.
The gum also cleans your teeth. Food particles and bacteria from your teeth. In fact, after you chew it for ten minutes, a piece of gum has trapped about 100 million bacteria from your mouth. That’s why you need to make sure to throw it away when you’re done–it may clean your mouth, but the gum gets very dirty.
How Often to Chew Gum
Before you get carried away with chewing gum, there’s a time and place to chew it that will benefit your dental health. For best results, chew gum after eating a meal or drinking something other than water. Chewing the gum after eating or drinking will help wash away the debris and sugar from your teeth.
If you chew too much gum, you might start experiencing jaw pain. If this happens, it’s a good idea to cut back. Studies have linked gum chewing to TMJ, especially in teens. In addition, sugarless sweeteners sometimes cause an upset stomach if too much is consumed.
Keep Brushing and Flossing
While chewing sugarless gum is an effective way to prevent cavities, it should never be a replacement for brushing and flossing your teeth. It’s still important to brush and floss at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. Brushing and flossing are the most effective way to prevent cavities, however, it’s unlikely you’re going to brush after every meal and drink.
Not only should you continue to brush and floss regularly to prevent cavities, but you should visit Dr. Firouzian every 6 months for a dental exam with our Columbus, Ohio dentist. Preventive dentistry is your key to a healthy smile. Schedule your next dental exam with us today by calling (614) 848-5001.