When it comes to chewing gum, not only is it tasty and fun to chew on but the type of gum you buy can make a big difference in whether it’s helpful or harmful to your teeth. While gum containing sugar can increase your chances of developing a cavity, there is clinical evidence that proves sugarless gum helps to prevent tooth decay, especially when utilized after eating.
Studies have found that chewing sugar-free gum increases the production and flow of saliva in your mouth, which helps dilute sugars and food particles. Saliva helps neutralize harmful acids that are produced in the mouth when the bacteria on your teeth break down the foods you consume. Not only does the increased saliva flow neutralize the acids in your mouth, but it also washes away food particles helping to keep your teeth clean.
It is even better when it comes to chewing sugar-free gum that is sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol has the added benefit of preventing the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause tooth decay. Xylitol causes bacteria to lose the ability to adhere to the tooth which prevents the tooth decay causing process.
Although chewing sugarless gum can be beneficial, there are some cases where it is not recommended. People experiencing jaw pain or symptoms of TMJ, should avoid chewing gum and discuss with their dentist about other options suitable for them.
It is important to remember though chewing sugarless gum can be helpful to your dental hygiene routine however, it is not a replacement for brushing twice daily and flossing.