31 Jul Could Chewing Gum Be Good for Your Dental Health?
Did you know that chewing gum dates back at least 5,000 years? While toothbrushes and dental checkups hadn’t been invented yet, our ancestors might have been on the right track with their gum-chewing habits.
Throughout the years there has been some debate about whether or not chewing gum is good for your teeth. As always, the truth falls somewhere in the middle. Let’s explore the pros and cons of chewing gum.
How Chewing Gum Affects Your Dental Health
Everybody’s dental health is slightly different, and what works for one person might not work for another. That is why it is important to weigh the pros and cons—ask a dentist—before you take up a habit that concerns your dental health.
Chewing Gum Pros:
- Removes plaque and food particles from the teeth
- Encourages saliva production, which clears away bad bacteria and helps prevent heartburn
- Exercises your jaw muscles
- Keeps bad breath away
- Could help with focusing your attention
Chewing Gum Cons:
- Sugared varieties can cause plaque to form faster, leading to cavities
- People with TMJ Disorders may experience pain from prolonged chewing
- Dental restorations like crowns and fillings could become loose or fall out from chewing sticky gum, and may be expensive to replace
- Gum can easily get tangled in metal braces, and only a dentist or orthodontist can remove it
Sugar-Free Gum Is the Way to Go
The main factor in whether chewing gum can be healthy or not is sugar.
The microorganisms that cause tooth decay love to eat sugar. The more sugar they get to eat, the harder they work at forming holes in your tooth enamel and irritating your gums. They create cavities and increase your risk of gum disease. And because gum stays in your mouth for such a long time, chewing gum with sugar is really bad for your teeth.
However, sugar-free gum can help you keep your breath fresh and your mouth hydrated, without the negative side effects. If you choose to chew gum, pick one that’s sweetened with xylitol, which is actually good for your teeth!
Best Dental Care in Prescott, Arizona
Even if chewing sugarless gum is good for your teeth, it should never be a replacement for brushing and flossing. However, it can be part of a good oral health routine. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can make brushing and flossing more effective by removing food particles that would otherwise get stuck to your teeth.
Having a dentist that you trust is another way to keep your smile healthy. The team of experienced dentists and dental technicians at Hicks Dental Group will ensure that you get the best treatment available. Contact us today to make an appointment!