If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy chewing some gum now and again. After all, it tastes great and helps give you nice fresh breath. Gum is good for more than just your breath, it can support a healthier mouth. Some brands of gum have even had their oral health benefits recognized by the American Dental Association. What are the ways that gum can help improve your oral health? Let’s find out!
To most, gum is seen as little more than candy and for some gums, that’s absolutely true. That’s why it’s important to first specify the gums we’re talking about here are sugar-free. The high sugar content gums are obviously not great for your teeth. So make sure you’re looking for gum that is sugar-free and approved by the ADA (look for the ADA seal).
So what exactly is this gum doing for your teeth? First off, the physical act itself of chewing gum helps protect your teeth by increasing the flow of saliva in your mouth. For this reason, chewing gum for around 20 minutes following a meal has been proven to help in the prevention of cavities. This is because the extra saliva your mouth is producing helps wash off the acids that are produced by the bacteria in your mouth. In addition, the calcium and phosphate contained in the saliva support strong tooth enamel.
Even the sweeteners in sugar-free gum can help keep your teeth strong and cavity free. Xylitol, in particular, has been proven to have a host of benefits for your teeth’s health. Xylitol gum has been shown to have an enamel strengthening effect similar to fluoride, the mineral found in most toothpaste and mouthwashes. And the xylitol itself protects your teeth against bacteria as well as it has antibacterial effects. Xylitol stops bacteria from attaching to your teeth, inhibiting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, and slowing their ability to create cavities.
Having a piece of gum after dinner doesn’t mean you don’t have to brush before bed, but another cavity fighter in your mouth is always a plus! So if you’re looking for an easy (and tasty) way to help keep your teeth healthy and strong, grab a pack of your favorite gum and start chewing, your mouth will thank you. (Just make sure it is sugar-free!)