Chewing Gum Can Help You Prevent Tooth Decay

Posted on: 15 August 2016

It is common to hear someone say that chewing gums is not good for your teeth. In fact, many people believe so. While there is some element of truth in that statement, not all gums are capable of destroying your teeth. Sugarless gums are actually good for your teeth since they prevent tooth decay; research has it that a twenty-minute chew after eating can go a long way in preventing decay.

How Does Chewing Gum Help In Preventing Tooth Decay?

Chewing forces glands in the mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva neutralizes the acid that forms in the mouth when food is broken down; if left in its original state, the acid can erode the enamel of the tooth and cause decay. Also, the nutrients in saliva like phosphates, calcium and fluorides strengthen the enamel.

Saliva also helps in clearing out food remnants that serve as an attraction for bacteria.

Do All Sugarless Gums Prevent Cavities?

According to Francisco Ramos-Gomez, a pediatric dentist, not all sugarless gums can prevent tooth decay. It is only gums that contain sweeteners like xylitol.  Xylitol, which is a natural sweetener, is also an anti-microbial substance, so it works against bacteria by preventing the build-up of plaque bacteria on the teeth. Xylitol is a substance that is also found in foods such as berries and mushrooms.

On the other hand, gums that are rich in sugar have quite an opposite effect. The sugar present in the gum prompts the bacteria in the mouth to break down the sugars to acids that can corrode the teeth. Hence even if the saliva production will increase, its functions will be neutralized by the sugars. So the next time you are buying a gum, read the list of ingredients first.

How Many Sticks Must You Chew?

If you want maximum protection against decay and cavities, you may have to chew more than one piece of sugarless gum in a day. According to dentist Peter Milgrom of the University of Washington, you have to chew at least two pieces of sugarless gums three times in a day. Chewing sugarless gums is so effective in preventing tooth decay that in some countries such as Finland, there are public health initiatives that encourage the locals to embrace the practice.

Note, though, that chewing sugarless gum is not an equivalent to regular brushing and flossing. You should rather view it as a boost to these practices. For more information about how adding sugarless gum to your routine will boost your dental health, talk to a dentist at Shellharbour City Dental.

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