You might think chewing gum is one of those products that only hurts teeth. After all, it’s artificial, sweet, even sugary — qualities that damage tooth enamel. However, what if the truth is more complicated than you’d think?
Listed below are three potential benefits chewing gum has for oral health. Read about them and consider if a bubblegum stick could do your smile good.
It Could Clean Your Teeth
The Oral Health Foundation has stated that sugar-free gum can help prevent cavities by removing food particles from tooth surfaces. In that respect, it doesn’t have to be advertised as cavity-fighting to improve your teeth.
Gum also leads to the frequent chewing that produces saliva. Saliva is one of the essentials to good dental health, as it clears away food, strengthens teeth, and reduces the levels of tooth-decaying acid in your mouth. The acid reduction is particularly noteworthy, as your dental plaque gradually becomes acidic after eating.
In fact, gum’s contribution to saliva production has been confirmed in scientific research. A sugarless gum study conducted in Europe showed sugarless sorbitol gum led to a 41.7 percent reduction in dental caries compared to the control group. It also showed that it’s possible to chew three pieces of sugarless gum daily.
It Could Prevent Cavities
Chewing gum does more to prevent cavities when it contains the naturally occurring sweetener Xylitol.
According to some studies, Xylitol can reduce the number of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. Its unsuitability as fuel causes the number of bacteria to decrease, leaving your mouth a safer place for your teeth.
Brands known to contain xylitol include Trident®, Icebreakers®, Stride®, Orbit®, Pure®, Mentos®, and Spry®.
It Could Harden Tooth Enamel
Some gums could strengthen your tooth enamel over time. Those containing the milk product Recaldent re-mineralize and harden tooth enamel, making your teeth stronger and less likely to suffer from tooth decay.
Derived from the protein casein, Recaldent can be found in gum brands like Trident® and Dentyne®.
Chewing gum could truly improve your smile even as it offers great taste. Remember its benefits the next time you want to satisfy your sweet tooth!
About the Author
Dr. Ira Newman is one of the premier dentists in Manhattan, New York, having graduated from Emory University’s School of Dentistry. He was previously a Clinical Instructor at NYU’s College of Dentistry and is currently an attending dentist at Northwell Hospital. Dr. Newman has also published articles and lectured nationally on various dental topics. He currently practices at Gramercy Dental Studio and can be reached at his website or by phone at (212)-924-6890.